May 09, 2013

Cleaning the environment by publishing slogans in Nature

In between the title (China's citizens must act to save their environment) and the closing words ("The air of the people should be protected — by the people, for the people") of his article in Nature, Qiang Wang tells us that "the voice of society is growing," that the hashtag "I don't want to be a human vacuum cleaner" attracted more than 1.7 million comments (in Sina Weibo, because the government blocks Twitter), that "local protests have successfully blocked the construction of individual polluting projects," that "car ownership is burgeoning," and that people in Beijing buy a second car with an even plate number to drive on the days when the first car with an odd number is not allowed to.

The article's subtitle is "The country's air-pollution crisis offers a lesson in the power of civil society." Wang doesn't say exactly what lesson.

1 comment:

  1. I guess the idea of an environmental Kuznets Curve (where "economic growth precedes environmental improvement") would not occur to Mr. Wang. Here's a 2005 article by Steven Hayward,

    http://www.aei.org/article/energy-and-the-environment/the-china-syndrome-and-the-environmental-kuznets-curve/

    Hayward may even have an answer to Mr. Wang:

    "As we have written in previous Environmental Policy Outlooks, there is a strong correlation between various indices of political freedom and environmental performance.[18] If China responds to its environmental challenges with administrative decentralization and greater use of market mechanisms and property rights, who knows where it might lead."

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