The yellow cloud


Numbers, numbers, numbers. The earth talks to us through numbers.

1.6 million square kilometres in China are covered with a cloud the colour of sulphur. 200 Million inhabitants in 562 cities search the sky to see if they can see the sun once more. In a single night in Beijing 20 grammes of toxic dust and sand fell on every square metre of the city for a grand total of 300,000 tons. Itís like being on the beach without the problems of the sunís rays and getting burnt. This is how the people of Beijing can save on sun glasses and sun barrier creams.
The immense yellow cloud (and how could it be any other colour?) is depositing its fall out all over the Pacific.

Korea, Japan and the United States are importing sand polluted by China without paying customs duties.

This is the true global economy. The one that encourages the circulation of sand and goods and increases the Gross Domestic Product. The global economy of the great tunnels and the great bridges, of the multinationals without political control. Of all those cars in a queue, of so many empty trucks of so much clean cement.

This concept of the economy that is separated from the planet and from people in China is producing deforestation, desertification and drought. Itís producing illnesses of the lungs and of the skin. Itís producing pollution caused by the coal fired electricity generating stations. Itís drying up of the great rivers.

But at the same time, luckily it produces the growth of the Gross Domestic Product of 10% a year, what all the yes-global people in the planet admire, as well as enormous urban spaces with 20 to 30 million inhabitants.

In this scenario, there is however a good bit of news even for the Chinese people. In China new cars are registered sparingly because imported petrol is not sufficient.
The supply of petrol is drying up and so its price is going up. Prices of 100 dollars a barrel are not far off.
The Chinese people will have to start car sharing. I hope that the petrol dries up before the planet ends.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 01:14 PM in | Comments (16)
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The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.
Subject : Environment can never be saved as long as cities exist.

Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.

A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.





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Posted by: sushil_yadav | September 30, 2006 06:01 AM

Dear All,
I just would like to recommend a little book that has inspired me. It is called
change the world for a fiver and there are 50 little actions that everyone of us could do to improve our planet (unfortunately there is no chinese subtitles). I found it extraordinary that people nowadays talk about our planet and environment issues and then in their everyday life, they leave the car runnning and they talk to their friends about football for 15 minutes, or before going for shower they leave the water running for half an hour as suddenly they had to call someoone and they chat over the phone.........
We really need to wake up and wake up all our friends on these little issues, as I still do believe we can make it
thank you

Posted by: mauro governato | June 12, 2006 06:10 PM

Giovanni, the hydrogen-powered car may seem to be a panacea. However, unless the hydrogen is extracted from renewable non-polluting sources, then this development makes little or no environmental or economic sense.

Hydrogen extracted from fossil fuels, such oil or natural gas, is likely to increase and not decrease the level of carbon dioxide released into our atmosphere - over and above that already originating from the burning of fossil fuels.

Posted by: Noel Cosgrave | May 6, 2006 05:01 PM

China's pollution is terrible. However, the government is definitely feeling pressure from its own citizens to start cleaning things up and it is finally starting to do so. China's most recent five year plan stresses improving the environment and energy efficiency and the government seems serious about carrying this out.

Posted by: China Law Blog | April 24, 2006 07:20 PM

I didn't want to buy the hybrid because of 2 points:
1)We don't know how much it will cost in maintenance (new batteries, spare parts, troubleshooting)
2)The carmakers did not inform us about exhausted batteries recovering: exhausted batteries are highly pollutant when put underground. If I'm not sure about what will happen to them I will never buy one because I do not wanto to contribute to permanently damage our soil and our drinking water.

Posted by: Giovanni Principe | April 21, 2006 04:32 PM

Prince: I didn't look at the problem from this point of view. At present it seems the exact opposite: air fares get always cheaper and people can easily fly around the world than ever. But if we go on like this, may be this trend will reverse in the next time, and the scenario you explained will happen. I hope not, it would be the end of our civilization.

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | April 21, 2006 01:32 PM

Stephanie: I wondered often what is the price of happiness. I think it's to pick up the courage to use our own head and to accept responsibility for our actions. So every decision we take is "our" decision, every mistake is "our" mistake, and every breakthrough is "our" breakthrough. The mass society instil into our minds false wishes
and needs, through them we'll never be happy, because they are not fruits of our free choice. I think the price of happiness is the same price of freedom. But don't forget what Erich Fromm wrote: Escape from freedom. People are afraid of freedom because its price is too high, the same goes for happiness. Sad but true.

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | April 21, 2006 11:10 AM

Hi Giovanni, thanks for passing the good news about the German giant-I didn't know. I too think we should move our butts.
Over the last two years here in the USA dealers have been big in offering cars that are powered by electricity and gasoline. The gas kicks in only when you go faster than 40 mph.
The good thing is also that families can deduct $2,000.00 when they file their income taxes. Well, at least it's a start!

Posted by: Stephanie Noble | April 21, 2006 05:37 AM

Do you know that BMW on 2008 will start selling Hydrogen powered cars?
Right now those big guys from the 7 sisters are making the best out of Crude Oil because later our planet will be either exhausted or the environment so screwed up that they will be forced to switch to cleaned sources.
The air-powered car has been invented almost 10 years ago and it's been hidden all this time.
What are we waiting? To see those white collar senseless people sucking on our wallets and giving us lung cancer or we want to find some ideas to counter this systematical damage?
Gas prices are rising making hard for people to move around.
To me this looks like segregating everybody in a delimited boundary, like if somebody is conspiring to allow travel just to few elected people and keping everybody else within control, like in the Middle Age: is this what we want?
Modern Age Captivity? Let's not forget that information also comes from visiting far places: in this way our governments will keep us more and more like "mushrooms" and we will look like the middle eastern guys that think that we are the devil's deed and we need to be converted thru Holy War (what an Oxymoron).
Me may laugh now but I want to see within 30 years from now how diversity and information will be dealt with.

Posted by: Giovanni Principe | April 20, 2006 11:18 PM

Margaret-Rose and Raffaella's posts brought up some very good points and made me think of John Stuart Mill. He wrote that happiness is desirable, and the only thing desirable, as an end; all other things being desirable as means to that end.
Question: What is the price of happiness?

Posted by: Stephanie Noble | April 20, 2006 09:23 PM

When what we're doing to Earth has become just too much, and we've managed to wipe ourselves off her face, she will continue: it will be as if our puny and pathetic efforts to aggrandize ourselves have never been. She will prevail, but mankind will not. And then, one day far into the future, more like us will manage to drag themselves out of the destruction that we wrought, and start this meaningless cycle all over again. And Earth will still be here after that next cycle of destruction ... What a piece of work is man ...

Posted by: Margaret-Rose STRINGER | April 20, 2006 07:39 PM

Since the first Earth Day 36 years ago, we have won many environmental battles but we are losing the war. Our early twenty-first century civilization is on an economic path that is destroying and disrupting the natural systems on which it depends. We are consuming renewable resources faster than they can regenerate. Forests are shrinking, grasslands are deteriorating, soils are eroding, water tables are falling, and fisheries are collapsing.

We are using up oil at a pace that leaves little time to plan beyond peak oil. And we are discharging greenhouse gases into the atmosphere faster than nature can absorb them. As a result, the earthís temperature is rising, ice sheets are melting, and the sea is rising.

Our twenty-first century civilization is not the first to move onto an economic path that was environmentally unsustainable. Many earlier civilizations also found themselves in environmental trouble. Some were able to change course and avoid economic decline. Others were not.

Our future also depends on changing course, on shifting from Plan A, business as usual, to Plan B, restructuring the global economy. Sustaining progress depends on shifting from a fossil-fuel-based, automobile-centered, throwaway economy to a renewable-energy-based, diversified-transport, reuse/recycle economy.

The good news is that we have the technologies needed to build the new economy. We can see the Plan B economy emerging in the wind farms of western Europe, the solar rooftops of Japan, the growing fleet of gas-electric hybrid cars in the United States, the reforested mountains of South Korea, and the bicycle friendly streets of Amsterdam.

The question facing governments is whether they can respond quickly enough to prevent threats from becoming catastrophes. The world has precious little experience in responding to aquifer depletion, rising temperatures, expanding deserts, melting polar ice caps, and a shrinking oil supply.

For todayís leaders, the challenge is to move the global economy onto an environmentally sound path before economic decline sets in. I discuss these issues in my new book ďPlan B 2.0,Ē which can be read for free at

Posted by: Lester Brown | April 20, 2006 05:56 PM

As I wrote on the previous post, about to change the world, if we can't change THE WHOLE WORLD, we can change our little field of actions.
Many people stand still and silent because they think tehy are too small to change the world. Everybody says that the earth can't go on like this anymnore, but the few of us are ready to start to do something against it.
For example,everyday we can ask ourself if we really need what we consume. We'll see that the most of things we are buying are perfectly unnecessary.

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | April 20, 2006 04:43 PM

I would like to know if the people who earn mony from the electicity generating stations are sleeping fine...
I hope at least they don't sleep at all..this is the minimum tax they have to pay for pollution...

I am sure this word will change,we can do it! maybe revolution will be needed, but we are ready for it!;-)

Posted by: Elisa Dietmann | April 20, 2006 03:55 PM

What are we doing to our world? This is sick.

Posted by: David Jones | April 20, 2006 03:41 PM

A week ago I bought a used piece of a used guitar from a funny guy in Florida. 100$.
For the ridicoulus 100$ I had to pay 20% more for the duty for my wonderful and funny country, plus a 7% more for the import duty, plus a tax on the duty tax.
Incredible! But if I have to pay, I pay with no problem.

Just would like to know wh's paying the import/export duty for millions of sqare km of TOXIC CLOUDS!!!

Posted by: Jack Braun | April 20, 2006 01:41 PM

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