Haze of pollution in Beijing "From a room on the 14th floor, China Resources Hotel, Beijing. A recent article in the U.K. Financial Times pointed out that pollution (alongside protectionism) are being forgotten by investors in their current lust for all things Chinese." Image & caption credits:Flickr, David Barrie
There's an old saw about how post-colonial governments are prone to following the worst examples set by their former colonial masters. China having surpassed the USA at it's abandoned game of filthy manufacturing, 1950's style, the pendulum returns. Republicans have taken a cue from their Chinese masters, publicly stating their desire for a return to the days of choking factory smoke and burning rivers (suffering bad air and water in return for any kind of paycheck easily appeals to a broke and hungry middle class). To reach their goal, Republican presidential candidates want USEPA to "die. " The recent Ames Iowa poll of Republican presidential candidates indicates nothing but - setting the Pendulum up for a big swing to the right with all candidates of both US political parties. (Obama may well take his cues and triangulate to the right.)Here it comes. For a glimpse into the future of American manufacturing without EPA around to set and enforce environmental standards, we have only to look at what's happening in China. Reuters covers yet another example of what happens when desire for economic growth reins supreme and government only looks out for corporations.
Twelve thousand pollution protesters faced down police over a polluting petrochemical plant. In response to growing unrest, the local government had promised that the plant would be moved, heaven knows where, because in China there really is no 'away.' The government's word was not enough to quell the outrage, according to Reuters.
Protesters including children marched holding banners that declared: "I love Dalian and reject poison," "return me my home and garden, get out PX, protect Dalian," and "Return my future generations' beautiful home," according to eyewitness accounts.Promises are never enough when people fundamentally don't trust government and industry. In the cited case, people, knowing that the Chinese Environmental Agency is a fire-less dragon and that local municipal leaders do pretty much whatever they want to (which generally amounts to whatever the factory owners want) the only remaining choice was civil disobedience. Industry should not logically favor such a situation, to the extent it can disrupt productivity; but in China, apparently, this outcome was not seen as likely.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, just now entered the race for US President, will surely increase prospects for EPA's mortal budget blow.
What to do about it?
Make sure you are registered to vote; and, if you don't drive, get busy now with obtaining a state issued picture ID.
Vote in your State primaries. Think strategically about who you vote for. Otherwise, you can be damned sure that we will end up just like our Chinese overlords - maybe worse. This is very serious, given that Obama clearly is not willing to fight for environmental values.
Update: replying in advance to comments of Tea Partiers, Ayn Rand fan boys, and paid astroturfers.
Yes...I'm drawing a parallel between the right wing political viewpoint on environmental management in the US and that of the Communist Party in China. (A similar government-industry allegiance existed in the now-collapsed USSR, where, extremely hazardous conditions resulted: spanning Cherynobyl to the private sector.) Not saying we are any where close to those extremes yet but the US appears headed in that direction, at least in political expression.