April 30, 2016 after Beijing, China
During the uneventful 2 hour drive from Beijing to Tianjin, I saw the pollution that everyone speaks about. Is this a desert area? It just seems that there is a lot of dust everywhere. It’s on all the buildings, it seems to gather everywhere. I got the feeling that if it were to rain a little more, we wouldn’t see the sun peeking orange hues behind the thick layer of dense pollution. So I asked my driver when it had rained last, and he said, “last night.” Although similar to LA, this is far worse, as it obstructs long distance viewing, or even looking beyond a few blocks up the street. It is like dense fog, although it’s not fog, this is man-made pollution. I can remember when all the Chinese people used all ride their bicycles for transportation. Now, all you see are new cars everywhere. It’s not even like in Argentina, where there are old cars that look like they fall apart driving half a block. No. These all seem like brand new cars, and nice ones at that. There are far too many people here.
For about three years now, I fear that the reason why the Bay Area all of the sudden has a remarkable increase in traffic is due to all these newly-rich Chinese. They are choosing to leave their country, and they cash out in California. Who wouldn’t want to live in the Bay Area instead of this polluted place? It seems that they have torn down all the older buildings and replaced everything with tall skyscrapers. All you see are towering tall, soul-less buildings everywhere, as if this were the goal. There has been no effort to conserve anything historic. Even the Great Wall, to me, looks fake. In fact, it looks brand new! There is no way a structure that seemingly is so old, can be in such good shape. I suspect they have rebuilt a modern version of what was the Great Wall, and now they have a ski lift that takes you to the top and a bobsled-type-ride at the top that one can go down. This is not the Great Wall. This is Disneyland!
It seems to me that the soul of China has been destroyed. Even they don’t even know or understand what it is to be Chinese as they emulate “The West” in everything, not realizing that their history is so rich and beautiful. There seems to be a lack of respect for the past. Perhaps it was the “Cultural Revolution” that destroyed everything here. It is now a huge wasteland of pollution now.
I believe there are three tremendous oversights with the modern world that we live in:
1) There are too many people and no population control.
2) There is too much (single use) consumption of plastic with no regard as to what this will do to our planet in the future. Plastic bits have been found in the stomachs of animals. Plastic is not bio-degradable. How are we allowing all this pollution thrive in our world?
3) There is too much use of fossil fuel which is polluting our planet. Climate change is a global reality which is changing rapidly due to all of the emissions that we are allowing into the air we breathe and need to sustain all living organisms. The holes in the ozone are a reality which are caused by the cars that run on fossil fuel.
I feel that China’s rule of one-kid-per-family was a good one. The fact that they just lifted this regulation, I think is taking a step backwards. In fact, I think the rest of the world should implement this one-child-per-family rule.
Plastic is not bio-degradable. What are we doing? Especially in these 3rd world nations that I visit, where there is little regard to litter and what to do with it. Plastic seems to be everywhere. Why are we continuing to use it?
There is absolutely no reason to be using fossil fuels any longer. Why are we not all made to drive electric cars immediately? Fossil fuel should be illegal!
It is when I travel to other countries that the issues seem more blatant. In the States, where everything is clean and orderly, one isn’t confronted so face to face with these sad realities. For the sake of the planet and our children’s future, we need to seriously do something about these issues.
May 1, 2016 sailing from Beijing to Osaka
This trip by boat takes about 3 days. On day 2 of this journey I sat outside on my balcony to meditate, as I do. Before closing my eyes, I kept noticing trash floating by! What?? It. Was. Everywhere. We were in the middle of the ocean!!! I have never seen so much TRASH in the middle of the ocean! We are polluting our precious planet!! How can we allow this???? We are in a state of emergency. We can not keep going like this. We are destroying our home. Repeatedly, I keep seeing this on my travels. I remember being in Ushuaia, Argentina in January earlier this year. This is a beautiful town, at the bottom of the planet, surrounded by the Southern-most tip of the Andes mountains. I was visiting the fully sustainable, eco-house built by “Garbage Warrior”, Architect, Michael Reynolds. Right next to it, was a small river where I saw some seagulls drinking out of it. Next to the seagulls, there was so much trash in the river! I personally apologized to the seagulls. How could we be polluting all our water sources like this?
In February, I found myself in Salvador, Brazil, where along the boardwalk, the ocean seemed to be where everyone threw their trash. Beautiful Buzios, Brazil, too. The water, through my swim googles was polluted, full of waste and plastic.
Fast forward to Bali in March, and I encountered more of the same. All the rivers in Bali seem to be garbage, the place where everyone throws their waste. What???? The ocean was full of trash, plastic bottles floating on the surface. I went snorkeling and at the bottom of the ocean I found loads of trash, even a sanitary napkin! It seems that 3rd world countries are the worst in garbage management and maintenance.
We need to stop the production of plastic and go back to using bio-degradable products. We need to stop the production of machines that require fossil fuel and turn to electricity. We also need to stop the production of so many people on this planet, otherwise, they will arrive to a sad planet of plastic garbage and toxic air.
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