I am in Shanghai, China for the holidays visiting my boyfriend. Being back in China has reminded me of the superiority of Asian food, the convenience of good public transportation, the joy of pirated DVDs and the consequences of ignoring the environment. I shot this picture of the JW Marriott Hotel near People’s Square in central Shanghai.
For those of you who are familiar with Shanghai, I took the picture near the northeast corner of People’s Square, at the corner of Xizang Zhong Lu and Jiujiang Lu.
To be clear, it was NOT overcast the day I took this photo. There were patches of blue sky directly overhead. What is obscuring the view is pollution. A few days later, I returned to the same area and took another picture of the Marriott from the same intersection. It was cloudy and there was some light drizzle, but the difference is striking.
As easy as it is to forget about environmental issues (stand in line, we have to end the war, expand health care, fix the economy, maybe toss a bone to uppity homosexuals), we should never stop appreciating those who protest, donate, and fight for clean air and water and for accountability for those who poison the environment. There is reason that we don’t have to pray for rain, shut down factories and ban cars from the streets so people can breath in America. There is a reason that the worlds most polluted cities aren’t found in America. The reason is not the benevolence of industries regulated by the EPA. Nor is it the dedication of the government to the public good. The reason is the persistence and determination of environmental activists and their allies in the government who don’t stop fighting for an issue that doesn’t get much attention.
To those who have put so much time and energy into environmental issues, from someone who hasn’t done enough: Thank you!