Thursday, November 24, 2005

Harbin, China

Minamata, Cheliabinsk, Windscale, Seveso, Three Miles Island, Cubatao, Bhopal, Chernobyl...

The environmental movement has its own Atlas of doomed cities. A long list of dark icons that remind humane sufferings, but are also opportunities for change and progress.

Now there is a new entry in the Table of Contents of the Green Atlas: Harbin, China.

The Chinese government announces more stringent environmental measures throughout the country. How would you say Green Glasnost in Mandarine?

I note that the large international NGOs with offices in China do not appear to be very fast. This morning, I can't find references to Harbin on Greenpeace-China's and WWF-China's websites, for example. I am sure these and other NGOs are working on this right now. But it shows that in today's world where information travels almost at the speed of light (even from a remote Chinese province), it will be a growing challenge for NGOs to stay on the edge. But to be fair, the United Nations are not very fast either.

China Watch, a joint initiative by the Worldwatch Institute and the Global Environmental Institute is a useful, on-going source of information and analysis on China's environmental and sustainability challenges.
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