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Sunday, August 26, 2007

As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes - New York Times

We like to read articles like this, about how bad pollution is in China, and think, "At least we're not this bad." But in this inter-dependent world, we're the enablers of China's pollution. Our insistence on cheap ipods, toys for kids, and support of the 2008 Beijing Olympics all together provide support for the kind of regime that insists environmentalists keep quiet for the sake of "social stability."

The best thing that could happen for China's environmental future (and quite possibly the world's) would be for the Olympic athletes to band together and call for the canceling of the 2008 Olympics. But of course, that would never happen. The kind of person who becomes an Olympian is the kind of person who says "Yes" to a question asking "If you could take a drug that would guarantee you an Olympic gold medal but would kill you in five years, would you take it?" Against that kind of competitive instinct, what's a little bit of particulate matter?


DWallach said...

But if you're competing in an outdoor event and you have to breathe that air (particularly for distance events like the marathon), maybe individual athletes will abstain.

Piaw Na said...

I doubt it. The kind of folks who qualify for it will rather spend their energies training to beat others than protesting environmental degradation.

Sandor Dornbush said...

Really what we have done is outsource our polluting industries. Part of the reason that Chinese goods are so cheap is the lack of environmental concern.

We should not count on athletes to solve our social and environmental woes. If you want to make a difference in something like this you must do it as a consumer. Try to purchase goods that are sourced in a way that meets our own environmental standards. The power is in the market not a few athletes.

md said...

I doubt it.

I doubt it, too. I suspect that the issue isn't even on the radar of most of these athletes. They haven't got the time or energy to spend on anything other than achieving excellence in their area.