Tag: pollution

Underlying Causes of Climate Change and Why Solutions are Difficult

As the world grapples with unexpected “100 year” weather events that seem to be more and more common, we need to acknowledge that climate change is real and needs urgent attention. Scientists are tracking unprecedented glacial melt that cannot be explained any other way. The damage to habitat and human existence is obvious to those experiencing it. But how do we repair and stabilize our planet?

I watched Bill Gates on the “60 minutes” TV series talk about investing in tech solutions, necessary to reverse climate change. I kept wondering how a tech solution can reverse our deep human mistakes, ones that we continue to make. I do not think it can.

China: Worldwide Influencer, Mover and Shaker

China has a lot of people. Baoluan, 暴乱, is the Chinese fear of chaos, of the Government or Emperor losing control of their mandate to rule. The people, having little to lose, rise up and kick their overlords out. Today China’s overlords are the Chinese Communist Party. This recurring issue heavily colours what China does.

From China: They provide employment for their people

The solution in China is to give everyone work. With work they will not revolt and not upset the Communist Party, thus preserving the status quo: The Communist Party stays in power.

Persimmons, China and Smog

Dried persimmon are a delightfully sweet staple for Chinese New Year in Northern China

Dried persimmon are a delightfully sweet staple for Chinese New Year in Northern China

Persimmons are a staple Chinese New Year item in Northern China. Persimmons look similar to a tomato but taste sweet. Chinese villages grow them and dry them for some much needed fruit during the winter. Persimmons evoke a feeling of happiness that is difficult to describe, and can be called a comfort food. Grown and dried outside, in the presence of heavy smog, any fruit or vegetable will look bad, and persimmon is no different. Persimmon grown in heavy smog is not fit to consume.

Air Quality PM2.5 Levels: Toronto vs Beijing

Woe is Beijing, China’s air pollution reading. Here is the PM2.5 pollution levels between Toronto and Beijing this morning, ~9:00 EST. Beijing is truly shocking.

The PM 2.5 level of pollution measures air pollution particles that are 2.5 microns or less, or called fine particulate. This particle size will get inhaled and trapped in the lungs. In comparison a human hair is 100 microns in diameter.

Air quality PM2.5 pollution levels, Toronto vs Beijing, 2016 Dec 04, 09:00 EST. Toronto is less than 10% of Bejing's PM2.5 level air pollution.

Air quality PM2.5 pollution levels, Toronto vs Beijing, 2016 Dec 04, 09:00 EST. Toronto is less than 10% of Bejing’s PM2.5 level air pollution.

This cannot be good for anyone living in Beijing or North-East China.

Polluted Air Quality in Beijing

Air quality is something one personally cannot control. I suppose you could rent an oxygen tank and wear a medical mask 7/24 but realistically, few people could do this. Having lived in Beijing and have recently returned for a visit, the bottom line is that Beijing air is hazardous to all living beings in the area. For me it does not matter that the Chinese government says it’s Ok, and that there are places with worse air quality, some of them in China. All the proof you need will be provided by living in Beijing for only a couple of days.

China’s Persistent Pollution Problem

Pollution almost obscures Beijing's Birdsnest Stadium

Pollution almost obscures Beijing's Birdsnest Stadium

We were in Beijing just before the Olympics in August 2008, and upon arrival were greeted by Beijing’s biggest and most violent thunderstorm of the year. I’ve never seen rain in Beijing like that day. It was only after we got into our hotel and watched CCTV Channel 9 news that we found out the thunderstorm was man-made. Man vs Wild, specifically Peking Man. Chinese Peking Man wins this round. We enjoyed clean air for the day. The day after, I knew we had to leave the city. Even with manipulated air quality, Beijing has a real problem with air pollution.