GOOD

Breathe In. Breathe Out.

China's most important green activist, Ma Jun, just wants some transparency.

In winter, the Beijing haze is often so thick that cars will turn on their head lights to navigate at midday. Meanwhile, the sidewalks exhibit a post-apocalyptic vision: bundled Beijingers, heads down as they walk or cycle through the streets, their faces covered by surgical masks. Those who can afford better protection choose respirators that don’t look much different from what World War I troops used to ward off mustard gas. The precautions are understandable: One recent study estimated that air pollution was responsible for 1.2 million premature Chinese deaths in 2010.

Ma Jun, China’s most important and influential environmental activist of the past three decades, thinks it doesn’t have to be this way. “The conclusion I’ve come to is that the problem isn’t technology,” he says, “but lack of motivation.”

Keep Reading Show less
Features

Glowing Pollution Sensor Equipped Kites Replace Beijing's Stars

A scrappy citizen-science experiment to spark conversation (and action) around air quality.

Urban air quality in China has been miserable for years, but the issue really came to the foreground in June when China’s vice minister for environmental protection put foreign embassies on blast for publishing national air pollution data online. The U.S. Embassy, whose hourly Twitter updates on Beijing's air quality have helped spread awareness of the dangers of pollution among the Chinese public, was the likely target of the criticism.

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

Want to Buy a Car in Beijing? You'll Need to Win the Lottery

In response to unbearable congestion, China is setting up a lottery to determine who gets to buy a car this year in Beijing.

To deal with unbearable congestion, China is setting up a lottery to determine who gets to buy a car this year in Beijing.

The government banned all car sales in the capital from Dec. 24 until its new lottery system comes up with the names of the 20,000 lucky applicants who will have the right to buy license plates this month.

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

Best of TreeHugger: 350 Around the World, the Car That Stops for People, and the Footprint of Meat is Heavier Than We Thought

Windmill wunderkind William Kamkwamba is a big star on TreeHugger, at GOOD, and, it seems, everywhere else these days. When we...

Keep Reading Show less
Articles