When a Billion Chinese Jump

When a Billion Chinese Jump
Jonathan Watts

There aren’t many shocking revelations in this effective, cross-China environmental travelogue, but the plain facts are depressing enough. The problem is that so many of the people Watts interviews say that their lives are getting better, which is true, even as they acknowledge that the environment is being destroyed. The grand bargain being made, not just in China but all over the world, is that people will take jobs and a growing economy over political rights and a healthy planet. The economy, in other words, trumps everything, which Watts recognizes when he calls the ailing environment a symptom and the economy the cause. And I’m afraid there’s no fixing that now.