Sorry China, It's Ours

I read an unbelievably arrogant, self-centered letter to the Globe today – the kind of statement that verges on racism and gives environmentalists a bad name:

As I read through the articles on the rise of the economic impact of the “new” China, I was filled with immense sadness. The planet we all live on has finite resources and as the Chinese grab these resources for their own insatiable growth, the rest of the world, including plants and animals, will suffer the consequences. Your articles said little about the environmental impact of this rush to Westernize that seems to have gripped Chinese in some kind of group insanity.

– P.M., Courtenay, B.C. (I have withheld her name)

What the hell does she think we have been doing in the West? In 2001, China‘s population was 41 times that of Canada – yet they used less than three times as much oil. Their one-child policy, which we criticize for its barbarity, is a sacrifice greater than any made by a Western country. They are dying from horrendous pollution manufacturing goods for export to us.

It’s true the world can’t sustain a China that behaves like us. But when it came to exploiting the environment, we led the way. They deserve the wealth just as much as we do; we must accept that and work together to find a solution. Unless we’re willing to give up what we have, we have no business getting on our high horses and telling them, “Sorry, we got here first – you’ll just have to stay poor.”

2004-10-26

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