Beijing, Smogtown & Mandarin On Our Minds

11822786_10207441487863207_8367628389245871588_nLadies and gentlemen: may we present the cover of The People’s Republic of Chemicals Mandarin language version. This edition, published by the Beijing-based Central Party School Publishing House, should be out this month. Chip was recently interviewed about it in Xinhua and the South China Morning Post, among other outlets.

The People’s Republic of Chemicals, of course, is our sequel to our critically Smogtown paperback rough cover acclaimed Smogtown: The Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles. The paperback version of it, updated and expanded with a new chapter on the global air pollution buffeting the Third World, will be available in mid-October through The Overlook Press/Penguin Group USA. Smogtown Mandarin, distributed by Shanghai Scientific and Technical Publishers, has exceeded our expectations. Not only has it been a bestseller on Amazon China, but it’s notched three national awards there in 2014, including being named the country’s “Most Influential Book.”

ENVIRONMENTAL LINKS WORTH YOUR CONSIDERATION 

* “China’s Carbon Dioxide Emissions May Have Been Overstated By More Than 10%”The New York Times

* China Air Pollution Kills 4,000 People A Day: ResearchersBloomberg Business

* Mapping the invisible scourge: A New Study Suggests That Air Pollution Is Even Worse Than Thought” – The Economist 

* Fear of Toxic Air and Distrust of Government Follow Tianjin BlastsThe New York Times

* “China Is Exporting Ozone Pollution To The U.S. — Which Is Only Fair” – Grist

* “California Drought: Climate Change Plays A Role, Study Says. But How Big?Los Angeles Times

* “Garcetti, Officials Release 20,000 Shade Balls Into L.A. Reservoir” – Los Angeles Daily News

* Genetically Modified Algae Could Replace Oil For PlasticScientific American 

* “This Dutch Windwheel Holds 72 Apartments And Could Power An Entire TownScience Alert

 

Smogtown Goes to China, arguably civilization’s most polluted nation ever, and Opens Some Bloodshot Eyes.

81bxHcWN15L._AA1500_ Our book, Smogtown: the Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles (The Overlook Press/Penguin Group U.S.A.) was released in November 2008, just as the U.S. economy began to crater into that steaming hole we call the  Great Recession. Despite that inauspicious timing, the book garnered critical success, but still came up a wee bit short of our expectations. The monstrous air pollution, toxic waterways and blighted soil of China 2.0 that sprung up there after its admission to the World Trade Organization has done more than capture the green-world’s horror. It’s given our book about one of the modern world’s first environmental catastrophes a second life. Smogtown is now available in China, both in its original English form and, excitedly, also in Mandarin, replete with newly designed cover and title through the Shanghai Scientific and Technical PublishersLos Angeles Haze Revelation. So far, the later is doing very well if the grapevine and Amazon rankings mean anything. We say, thank you, China, and thank you to our foreign publisher. With The People’s Republic of Chemicals – our sequel about China’s eco-morass and Western blood  on its hands  — on the launching pad, we couldn’t be more humbled.

For kicks, we thought we’d use Google Translate to see what Chinese experts and book-readers are saying about the book so far as a lodestar to start reversing Asia’s ecological blitzing, a good slab of it from producing Western manufactured goods. Excuse the choppy language in their comments. Not easy switching tongues, though we’ve tried to clean up the comments for obvious grammar issues.

Academician Zhisheng: This is a vivid representation of the Los Angeles air-pollution control process; popular science; it has science, but it’s not daunting; it is literary, well-founded; concise language, the story exciting.

Academician Zhou Weijian: Free breathing air is not a dream; the key is how to do it.

Reader Susan:  … the Los Angeles Haze Apocalypse (or “Revelation” as it’s also sometimes called)  is worth reading. It took four nights, as well as time reading it going to work on the subway; it’s emotional reading. History always repeats in stages. Many of the plots in the book are taking place  on our side. Facing the haze, many Los Angeles/California officials vowed that within five years that they’d strive to solve the problem. Was it possible? Los Angeles suffered the first serious haze in 1943. After sixty years of treatment, the air quality in Los Angeles has undergone a drastic improvement, though in comparison Los Angeles smog still ranks first among major U.S. cities. Controlling visible pollution is an enormous task. I recommended Chinese officials take time  to read this book. In fact, as a matter of controlling China’s smog, everyone should. Blind pursuit of so-called “high quality of life” — luxury cars, mansions — continue to make “contributions” to the problem. So in order to have the blue sky,we need to  drive less and a promote a low-carbon life.

Reader Vividts: I do not know where to begin. Even with an essential, home air purifier, buying 3M masks and paying attention to the daily PM2.5 index, friends and colleagues will not stop lamenting that this is happening and ask how the predicament can be reversed? At the ideological level, we’ve never seriously thought about where haze (smog in all its malicious varieties) comes from? Why the frequent days of fog and haze? What do we have to sacrifice to get the blue sky back? We lack the ideological inspiration. But, is controlling smog really is the government’s task? After reading this book, I do not think so. From the government down to every citizen, we should unite to think about this question. The environment cannot be repaired by the power of the government/Establishment on its own. In order to promote change that produces ideologically effective action, this book is worth reading! Star recommendation.

Reader Lianggh17Smog has hit us. You can’t avoid it. The question is how to solve this vexing problem. Anyone can enjoy their own things from this book.