We may not have noticed it, but Americans are breathing a little easier thanks to a great story for the country’s air quality.
A Rice University study concludes that states are successfully reducing a harmful air pollutant called fine particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) in diameter, which can stay suspended in the atmosphere for weeks and has been linked to chronic and fatal diseases.
In fact, the study found that state efforts have been so successful that most urban areas had already lowered PM2.5 to more stringent levels instituted in 2012 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The improvements are good enough to translate into Americans living slightly longer lives.
“The trend across the country is that air quality is improving,” says Daniel Cohan, an atmospheric researcher and associate professor of environmental engineering. “Power plants are getting better at controlling emissions. There are more industrial controls to pollution. Cars are getting cleaner.”
In the third section of the Txchnologist article, Keller writes:
“PM2.5 levels in Beijing are a few hundred micrograms per cubic meter,” says Cohan. “In the U.S. we’re attempting to bring down these levels below 12 micrograms per cubic meter. We’re talking completely different ballparks here.”
This is the reality of China today: The coal mine bosses, factory owners, land developers, as well as their corrupt government cronies and investment bank money-men, are getting filthy, filthy rich. I mean this both figuratively and literally.
In the process of accumulating this “impressive” sum of money, the wealthy micro-minority of China is complicit in contaminating China’s air, water, and soil. And they must be making a shit-ton of money, because they’re sure making a shit-ton of pollution. In fact, so much so that Chinese smog drifts over to Korea and even reaches as far as California! Although, I don’t think the in-flight movie selection on China Smog Airlines is better than United Airlines’.
The baofahu, the tuhao, and the fuerdai (various Chinese terms for the nouveau riche) spend their dirty money on luxury apartments in Boston and wine chateaus in Bordeaux. They grab brand-name clothing and trinkets off the shelf like the Chinese equivalent of hot cakes, like it’s the Great Leap Forward again. Step into any store on Fifth Avenue, and you’ll find a sales representative who speaks Chinese. For the Western retail industry, Chinese people aren’t shoppers. They’re cash cows mooing to be milked.
Leaving Beijing must’ve been one of the easiest decisions I’ve made in my life so far. When I explain to friends why I left Beijing, I say it’s for “health and family reasons”. When I said “family reasons”, I didn’t only mean being closer to my parents in America. I also meant at the urging of my grandparents, who still live in Beijing. When I was in Beijing, the urged me to go back to America about once a month. ”We’re too old to move”, they’d say. “But you can still save yourself”. Save myself from what? China’s toxic environment, and the equally toxic culture that brought about this.
The air quality index for PM2.5 for Newark, New Jersey in the past 5 days ranged from a 9 to 75. For Shanghai, the five-day range was 85 to 181. For Beijing, the five-day range was 74 to 220. Earlier in the winter, there were days when the air quality index for PM2.5 spiked above 500 in Beijing. I’m grateful to be able to jog outside on a regular basis, to suck in lungfuls of fresh air, without necessarily raising my risk for lung cancer. That’s something that no amount of money can buy in most of China.
Today is April 22—Earth Day. Appreciate the Environmental Protection Agency and their work. Appreciate the environmental movement of the 1960s and 1970s. And Happy Earth Day, everybody.
Either as a favor to a large client or to expand their presence in Japan, the corporate law firm Mayer Brown is representing a deceptively-named organization called the Global Alliance for “Historical Truth”—US (quotation marks added) in a lawsuit that claims a memorial in Glendale, California honoring Korean and other Asian "comfort women" (a.k.a. victims of sexual slavery forced to satisfy Japanese Nazi-allies on the front lines of World War II) will cause Japanese-Americans to suffer “irreparable injury” from “feelings of exclusion, discomfort, and anger”.
Don’t you mean, the memorial will cause nationalistic Japanese historical revisionists and war atrocity deniers “irreparable cognitive dissonance” from “feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing”? If you’re interested in strongly voicing your complaints and objections, the full names of some people behind the lawsuit are printed in the Forbes article by global economics writer Eamonn Fingleton. If you use Chinese, Korean, or Filipino social media, you should translate the article and share it there to “help” Mayer Brown expand their presence in the rest of Asia.
I’m sure corporate law firms have stooped to much lower for the right of money and when the issue is complex enough as to confuse or bore the public rather than evoke a backlash, but Mayer Brown’s role in this lawsuit seems so readily reprehensible in its intersection of petty spite with World War II and sexual slavery.
On a related note, just as Japanese historical revisionists are behind the “Global Alliance for Historical Truth” that denies the suffering of women forced into the harsh conditions of wartime prostitution, the Japanese whaling industry are behind the “Institute of Cetacean Research” that disguises the commercial hunting, impaling, butchering of whales as “scientific research”. They’re sure pretty slick with their branding.