Monday, June 16, 2008

The Winds of Change

Growing up in a poor country, I was always inclined to think of environmentalists as morons. I was living in paradise, but struggling every day for education, healthcare and hot designer shit. I wish I could walk around cutting down the trees, emsaculating leopards and performing dental work on elephants all for some profitable chinese herbal tea. My family eventually settled on two incredibly environmentally unfriendly industries: garments and crab fishing, to give me my first taste of the good life. I had proven myself right, again.

Until I came to Hong Kong. Even I could see how often Nature had been raped to tame her rolling hills, sparkling waters and clear blue sky. The cock-shaped IFC 2 tower is a literal expression of what mankind has rammed down Nature's throat. Ofcourse I couldn't give two shits. I threw my starbucks paper cup right, I dropped my plastic bag left, I washed my shampoo down the sink and I kept my A/C on high sending sweet CFCs sky-ward.

The earthquakes and flooding changed all that. Suddenly my livelihood, capital markets, were threatened by an endless litany of environmental disasters. Earthquakes in China, floods in China, droughts in Pakistan, floods in Australia (which previously had droughts), floods in Iowa, storms in the North Sea. Even my favourite sushi fish - salmon, was not arriving bloody pink on my plate but instead turning upside down in the slightly warmer waters of Canada and Norway. So for the first time I thought about the environment.

I realised that environmental damage, committed in the name of progress, only ever hurts poor people. Peasants die in floods, peons die in shoddy high-rise collapses during earthquakes, beggars get lung cancer from air pollution. There is an endless, silent death toll in the name of progress. That's not even counting all the cuddly animals, fuck them. So I asked myself three very important questions:

1. How many people have to die before someone invents an environmentally sound system of economic development?

2. Do I give a fuck?

and finally

3. Do I then play China Life from the long or short side?

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