90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
China and the Environment
chinapolluted

A cyclist wears a face mask while cycling through polluted air in Lanzhou, in China's western Gansu Province on Dec. 5, 2006. (AP Photo)

The terrible story behind the story of China’s economic boom is the astounding environmental devastation that has come with it. China’s air, China’s rivers, even China’s seas, are deadly and dying. Half a billion Chinese do not have access to safe drinking water.

Problem is, the boom and the environmental crisis are two sides of the same coin — and growth-hungry China doesn’t want to let that coin go…

For three decades now, the number one goal of China has been hyper-growth and development. More towers — like those going up in Shanghai — more factories, more power plants, more coal. And in growth China has succeeded. But the price has been something approaching environmental catastrophe. Can China stop the spiral? It’s not clear.

In this hour, live from Shanghai, we’ll look at China’s environmental crisis, and talk to three people inside China trying to take their country in a new, greener direction.

Have you seen it? The environmental price of China’s hyper-growth? Can China and the world survive together another twenty years of success like this?

Guests:

Joining us first from Hong Kong is an extraordinary woman, Zhang Jingjing. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution calls her China’s Erin Brockovich. She’s director of litigation at the Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims in Beijing. The Center is China’s first pro-bono environmental-aid office. In 2004, Zhang Jingjing won China’s first-ever public hearing for an environmental lawsuit, in a case against a Beijing state-owned power company. In 2006, she was part of a team of lawyers that won one of the biggest legal settlements in Chinese history for 1,600 villagers whose water had been poisoned by a chemical factory dumping chromium. She’s a hero to some, a pain to others.

Joining us in our Shanghai studio is Yang Fuqiang. He is vice president of the Energy Foundation, a group with offices in the US and China that funds initiatives to advance energy efficiency and renewable energy. He has been involved in energy and environmental issues for more than three decades.

From Beijing, Qi Ye, distinguished professor of Environmental Policy and Management at Tsinghua University School of Public Policy and Management. He was part of the international task force that in 2006 called for major changes in governance in China to address the country’s growing environmental problems.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 31, 2014
Nurse Kaci Hickox, right, and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur are followed by a Maine State Trooper as they ride bikes on a trail near her home in Fort Kent, Maine, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.  (AP)

Quarantines and Ebola. An exploding rocket. Apple’s CEO comes out. Hawaiian lava flows. Midterms in the home stretch. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Oct 31, 2014
Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) and Sauncho Smilax (Beninico del Toro) share a drink in a scene from the upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson film, "Inherent Vice," an adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment)

From “Interstellar” to “Into the Woods.” The biggest and best movies of the fall and holiday seasons. What to see, what to skip.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 31, 2014
Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) and Sauncho Smilax (Beninico del Toro) share a drink in a scene from the upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson film, "Inherent Vice," an adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment)

From “Interstellar” to “Into the Woods.” The biggest and best movies of the fall and holiday seasons. What to see, what to skip.

 
Oct 31, 2014
Nurse Kaci Hickox, right, and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur are followed by a Maine State Trooper as they ride bikes on a trail near her home in Fort Kent, Maine, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.  (AP)

Quarantines and Ebola. An exploding rocket. Apple’s CEO comes out. Hawaiian lava flows. Midterms in the home stretch. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Three: What Is The Dow Jones Industrial Average?
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

We dig in to that all-important, all-confusing daily stock notice: the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: October 31, 2014
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

We tumble for ya, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Tuco the Massachusetts K-9 Unit puppy in training.

More »
1 Comment
 
Awards Season 2014: The Movies Worth Your Time
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

What movies should you watch before 2014 comes to a close? Our critics offer their picks for the movies of the season right here.

More »
Comment