Paint the Town Green

Reader Contribution by Jessie Fetterling

This Friday, 08-08-08, the Olympics will begin in Beijing, China, one of the Top 20 most polluted cities in the world. In fact, China houses 16 out of the 20. Twenty-five percent of the nation’s population drinks polluted water, one-third of it breathes extremely polluted air, and the country produces 6,200 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. Because China is home to 1.3 billion people, it’s no wonder that the nation is this polluted. However, the most surprising statistic is that despite its pollution problems, China only produces about one-fourth of the emissions per person that the United States does. Since they’ve started preparing for the Olympic Games, China started setting goals for energy saving and emissions reduction. By the end of 2007, there were more than eight million bicycles in Beijing alone, compared to their 3.35 million cars. They’ve made significant changes in their air and water quality so that they could pass the Greenpeace standards for the Olympics. And maybe their changes will be significant enough to encourage other countries to clean up their acts…hmmm…like inspiring the United States to work on reducing greenhouse gas pollution. Give examples of the ways that you reduce your carbon footprint below.