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Saturday, November 14, 2009

In the eye of the beholder

Here's a collection of stunning and disturbing photographs that is sure to lead to all sorts of widely disparate reactions. For me, it reinforces my thankfulness that I live in the United States, and it makes me want to pay more attention to where the stuff I consume comes from.

Comments (13)

Yes, sad, but don't think for a moment that some such scenes don't exist in the US.

Sure the steel towns like Pittsburg and Lackawanna are much cleaner now, but the invisible pollution in NJ still smells a bit funny, as does the aroma of Albany, OR.

And then there is the view outside the window of the DC to NY Metroliner showing the best that Delaware and NJ have to offer - not.

In a perfect world, these views would all be a bit more pristine than they are presently.

Oregon is a pretty sight, and we are blessed with what we have here in the Pacific Northwest. The challenge is balancing nature's beauty with our industrialization. In the last 100 years, the US was quite ugly inplaces; we've just moved that ugliness elsewhere. 'tis a shame.

Please show me one place in the US that looks anywhere near as bad as one of those pictures...

The amazing film "Manufactured Landscapes" is a really thought-provoking look at some of this.


Please show me one place in the US that looks anywhere near as bad as one of those pictures...

Here's a concept that most don't seem to get...that pollution you see in the pictures? It's partly *ours*. One lovely benefit of living in America is that most consequences are (temporarily) shifted elsewhere.

So--the (still mostly rural) Chinese get to suffer the consequences now.

But in the end, it's all connected. we'll suffer too. More every year.

But besides all the destruction in China, there's plenty of insidious human health and ecological destruction here. The health problems due to corporate chemical releases are all over us, in mother's milk, in our organs and genes. This too has consequences; over the course of centuries and millenia, we'll keep suffering more.

And man, the crap's already hit the fan--we're just lucky enough to be standing farther from the fan than most.

that pollution you see in the pictures? It's partly *ours*

True. A lot of that pollution crosses the Pacific and lands on Oregon.

I'll look at this more after I get back from WalMart, but first I must wait for the Haz-Mat people to clear the way after mopping up a quart of biodegradable antifreeze spilled at a car accident.

Reminds me of when I was a kid, driving along the Chicago Skyway and down through the south side of Chicago and into Gary Indiana on the way to points south or east. Rusty haze was ever present, acrid smells wafted about and standing pools of water bubbled with God knows what.

When visiting China earlier this decade there was an overwhelming sense of deja vu as if I had traveled back 30 to 40 years. I've chosen to look at the positive side of this -- I suspect that it wasn't all that long before that the gap was more like 60 or 70 years.

Check out Plaquemine, LA if you want one of the worst places in the US. Of course, back in the 60s, there was that suburb of Buffalo with the constant smell of burning tires.

Before visiting this site, I had just finished reading a Yahoo article about President Obama's trip to China and how the economic center of power in the world is shifting in that direction. This sure puts things in perspective, if you ask me.

A short TED talk by Burtynsky (the photographer at the center of the Manufactured Landscapes film posted about above) on his collection "The Landscape of Oil"



Seeing these photos, I just got a whole new appreciation for Gov Tom McCall...

The Chinese people are expendable to their government and to their fellow citizens. This expendable status is what we must constantly fight, or we become like them. I take great care to not buy anything Made in China, and I recommned you do the same. And, Mike M - you are a moron*.

*This opinion is that of Molly and does not necessarily reflect the views of the host and moderator.

NPR aired an interview today re. China's "success" in operating in "emerging nation" and embracing capitalism. At several times during the interview, it was suggested that China is managing its entreprenurial and corporate growth better than we are in the US (possibly, it was hinted, because China is not burdened with having to pay lip service to democracy).

Be that as it may, nothing at all was said about the crap being dumped into the rivers, about the devastated landscape, the birth defects, the corruption, the unbreathable air or the fact that most Chinese do not benefit. I kept waiting for it and it never came. By all means, let's copy China's successful model!

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