Did you know that only 1% of China's 560 million urban-dwelling population breathes air that is considered safe to breathe? Cancer has become the leading cause of death in China and toxic air is largely to blame for this. Moreover, this catastrophic pollution issue is no longer only affecting China's residents; the particulate air from China is spreading across the world, even as far as the west coast of the United States. A large portion of the "brown cloud" you see over Los Angeles is actually polluted air from China! That is a horrifying fact.
Long before we were the owners of Water Gallery, we traveled to China. It's a truly fascinating place and we had an unforgettable experience there. But we were struck by the pollution and the "thickness" of the air all around us; it's really quite overwhelming. Beijing seemed to be covered in a literal mass of particulate air. And we vividly remember hearing a devastating statistic, that the average life expectancy for a street cop in Beijing is 35 years old. That piece of information has stuck with us for years and still gives us pause whenever we think about the consequences of daily life in urban China.
And so naturally the next question is, what can we as Americans do to help reduce China's severe air pollution problem (and, as a result, ours)? Well, for starters, stop buying products that are made in China! China's insanely rapid industrialization and goal to become the world's most dominant economy is what has led to this air pollution crisis-- millions and millions of factories churning out cheaply-made products release toxic air at mind-boggling rates in China.
Think of it this way: don't you want to ensure the quality and safety of the products that you buy AND help reduce the demand for Chinese-made products (hence, forcing these highly polluting factories to stop what they're doing)? You can do that by BUYING AMERICAN-MADE PRODUCTS WHENEVER POSSIBLE. Yes, a lot of the time you have to pay a bit more money for products made in the USA and yes, they can be harder to find, but to us at Water Gallery, the benefits FAR outweigh the costs when it comes to the goods we bring into our homes and the air we breathe.
We want to drink out of glass water bottles, not cheaply-made plastic bottles. We want our kids to play with non-toxic, well-made toys. We want to eat off of hand-crafted ceramic instead of factory-made synthetic materials. It's time to send the message to China-- we do not desire cheaply-made, mass-produced goods, and we as Americans are making the effort to look for products that are made with high-quality materials in a safe, environmentally-mindful fashion. Be part of the change you want to see! Make the effort to buy American, even if it means taking a little more time to research made-in-the-USA products and a little more money spent in the name of quality.
And remember, always reduce, reuse, recycle! Small, everyday changes can make a big difference.