Special Reports
It's a Small, Small, Small, Small World

December 18, 2006

And if anyone's wondering why I keep posting stuff about Chinese currencies -
virtual or real - try this for a little hint about the interconnectedness of
things (which is what this blog is all about), and the deep nature of a commons:

At least one-third of California's fine particulate pollution -- known as
aerosol -- has floated across from Asia, says Steve Cliff, an atmospheric
scientist at the University of California at Davis. "In May this year, almost
all the fine aerosol present at Lake Tahoe [300 km east of San Francisco] came
from China," says Tom Cahill, a UC Davis emeritus professor of atmospheric
sciences. "So the haze that you see in spring at Crater Lake [Oregon] or other
remote areas is in fact Chinese in origin."

The irony of finding Chinese mercury in American rivers, of course, is that
much of it was emitted to produce goods being consumed in the United States.
There's been a growing awareness that importing commodities from the rest of
the world displaces pollution from the U.S. onto other countries; this story
brings it full circle and demonstrates yet again that in this fishbowl called
Earth, pollution can't be displaced "elsewhere" for long.


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