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A clearer Beijing morning

I can, for the first time, see the mountains from the Beijing apartment where friends have so kindly made me at home. The sun is shining and there is blue sky overhead: it’ll be a Sunday walk in the park later, followed by foot massage and another delicious meal. Talked to someone yesterday who made the point that Chinese people are concerned about the environment because they can see and touch and taste pollution, whereas we in the West are somewhat isolated from problems now – we’ve exported our dirty industries, and cleaned up our air and water to some extent. And of course one cannot see climate change, which makes it much more difficult to get people to take seriously than they did environmental issues such as birds disappearing because of pesticide use (the origin of Rachel Carson’ s term, “silent spring”) and that grey-brown suds one used to see at the edge of lakes and rivers, caused by phosphate detergents.

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