Have you been keeping up with the Olympics in Beijing? Having lived in southwestern China for almost two years, I find myself glued to the TV – not necessarily during the gymnastics competitions or the swimming races but the B-roll of the vast landscape, the sea of bikes, the glistening food. These images bring me back to those two years – I can almost taste the lotus root and fish-smelling eggplant right now (I promise it’s amazing.) Unfortunately, I also taste the grime on my tongue and in my nose from a long bike ride in the smog. While Beijing has dramatically cut the smog for the Olympics, the athletes and visitors can still see those dirty molecules in the air and feel it in their lungs. I remember the claustrophobia I felt almost every time I walked outside to enjoy the day.
Almost everyone has heard of global warming by now – even some of the most conservative corporate mongers are forced to agree that the pollution we create is damaging our earth in ways we are just beginning to fathom. What gets me though is how our pollution is creating the most havoc in places that are too poor to pollute!
I was talking with my good friend Lackings Banda the other day and I was asking him if the drought was still plaguing his home country of Malawi. (Malawi is a small country in southeastern Africa.) He shakes his head and clicks his tongue in disgust. “It’s much worse now,” he said. Banda didn’t necessarily connect his country’s drought to the extreme pollution that we Americans are creating – but I did. I recently saw an intriguing video at storyofstuff.org. It does a great job of connecting America’s need to shop for the latest and greatest with the hunger Banda sees in his relatives and friends. I encourage you to watch the 20 minute video and let us know what you think by commenting on this blog. What is one small thing you can do to make a difference? How can we prepare for something bigger than the Olympics – the health and wholeness of the world?