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Hi, all! I’m reaching out today to tell you about a cool project one of my friends is working on, and to ask for your help. My friend Ben Cartwright of Lawrence, Kan., is working on a book project about the city of Tianjin, China, where he worked and lived for one year, from 2008 to 2009. The city and the people Ben met there captured his mind and heart, and he hopes to travel back to Tianjin this summer to finish work on his project.
His book, called Tea & Gin, will touch on several topics many MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers care deeply about, from agricultural systems and fresh, local food to pollution and environmental degradation. About the food in the city, Ben had this to say: “I miss going to the street market near our apartment. We’d buy our eggs there, and all of our vegetables, and the chickens who produced our eggs were just walking around, right there. Produce was SO much less expensive, and fresher, in Tianjin than anything most people buy in the U.S.”
When I asked my friend more about the environmental issues facing the city, he expained: “Every year, dust storms still hit Tianjin, and drought is a serious problem. The government is trying all of these different things to change the environment in the city. For example, when I was living there, one day in the fall the entire sky went black. I thought it might be some kind of hurricane, or something. My students at the school where I was teaching explained that the government engages in cloud seeding, to try and counteract the drought. The drought problem is so bad, though, that sometimes the city gets really flooded when it does finally rain. The environment, and the degradation of the environment, comes up in my book through the images of the city around me.”
To learn more about Tianjin, Ben’s project, and how you can help — plus find out about the unique gifts Ben is giving to his supporters — visit the Tea & Gin Kickstarter page.