Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Price of Cheap

The image below was taken on a fine spring day without a cloud in the sky, from Mt Tsukuba, which lies north of Tokyo. What do you see? Or more specifically, what do you not see?


What you do not see is Tokyo. Or Mt Fuji. Or really anything more than about five miles away.  What is that nasty haze in the picture?

It's the price of your cheap Walmart junk from China. It's the price of cheap coal-powered electricity. It's what causes 200,000 Americans to die prematurely every year. No, that is not a typo. It's what made me hack up my lungs every day the winter before last and made me so weak I could barely climb stairs. It ruins beautiful days, forces people to hide indoors or behind masks, and coats everything in a layer of grime.

Fossil fuels are not cheap. Rather, their costs just land on everyone, rather than appearing on your electric bill or at the pump. Never let anyone get away with claiming otherwise.

PS: The saddest thing I observed today? How many Japanese refer to this as "kumotte-iru", which literally means "cloudy". It's gotten to the point that they don't even seem to realize that this is unnatural.