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The Green Revolution - Could China Lead the Way?
an article by Tony Dominski

How could global industries be refashioned to better human and planetary well being? This is the very timely question, asked by ecological architect William McDonough, in the May 16, 2005 issue of Newsweek , as China implements its plans for rapid industrial and urban development.

China with 1.3 billion people, is developing according to the original principles of 19th Century Industrial Revolution in Britain: It releases dangerous amounts of toxins into air and water; manufactures disposable products destined for landfills; and uses massive quantities of polluting coal and oil. Cancer rates in industrial centers are high. Nevertheless, McDonough asserts that China has the capacity to solve many of these problems through a 21st Century green industrial revolution guided by ecological principles.

McDonough has been hired by the China Housing Industry Association to help plan housing for 400 million additional people in the next 12 years He envisions Chinese buildings constructed with lightweight, super-insulating roofs of non-toxic polystyrene. Building roofs would be constructed of grass sod; these last longer than today's 20-year roofs, and sponge up water to reduce the need for storm water drains. Domestic toilet bowls would be coated with a material so smooth that it sheds bacteria and could be cleaned with a light water mist. The resulting toilet waste would fertilize bamboo wood plantations instead of polluting rivers.

In Chinese cities, air would be cleaner as square miles of solar collectors replace coal and oil as energy sources. McDonough speculates that if the USA were to import Chinese solar panels, additional American jobs would be created: For every job in China making panels there would be four jobs created in the United States installing and maintaining them.

McDonough describes his work in this way: "We won't get everything right the first time. Change requires experimentation. Our job is to dream and to make those dreams happen."

DISCUSSION

Question(s) related to this article:


A Second, Green Industrial Revolution: How could it come about?,

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Latest reader comment:

Thanks Tony for posting this interesting, and optimistic message. I especially liked his comment that " we look at the sites as if we were a migrating bird: We work from the sky into the earth.
He asks "when do we become solar?
One of the peace keys is to preserve the planet, and another is to share with others. This example of cooperation rather than competition is once indication that the culture of peace is taking hold.


This report was posted on August 15, 2005.