Over the past year, China's environmental devastation has quickly morphed from a future concern into an immediate crisis. The country's skyrocketing economic development, fueled by multinational corporations, has wreaked environmental havoc on the country (and the rest of us). It's now much easier for Americans to buy cheap cashmere sweaters and Ikea dining sets from China—"cheap" for consumers, at a big cost for Mother Earth.
For more on China's environmental demise and the effect it is having on the globe, see Mother Jones' January 2008 feature. And don't miss this revealing photo essay as well as various sidebars exploring Chinese citizen protests, deforestation, and other issues.
The country's environmental problems, in part, stem from governmental rule and lack of accurate information. Fortunately, international NGOs have been instrumental in gathering and disseminating trustworthy data for Chinese non-profits, and public awareness is growing on both sides of the Pacific Ocean, but it needs to grow faster. Chinese's per capita income is only 1/10 of Americans', which means if they ever reach our level of wealth and consumption, several Earths will be needed to provide resources.
Stay tuned for ongoing coverage on this subject at The Blue Marble. Here's a teaser. You won't believe which country Chinese president Hu Jintao said should be responsible for cutting the world's CO2 emissions. Take a guess in the comments.