Chasing Mirages

Tag: land use

Southwestern Adventure 江河行 2010: The Last Episode

by on Apr.09, 2011, under Posts

Finally, after months and months of delay, here is the last episode of the Southwestern Adventure.  Thanks so much for sticking with me through this trip!  Hope you enjoyed the pics and the captions.  I plan to follow up on these issues by exploring the downstream effects of China’s damming activity on its Southeast Asian neighbors.  Especially worrying are China’s damming of the Lancang River, known as the Mekong in southeast Asia, and the Nu River, also known as the Salween.

If you have contacts at NGOs or government agencies in Southeast Asia who are working on international river issues, please let me know.

Here is a map of our approximate route during this episode.

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First hike of spring

by on Mar.27, 2010, under Posts

Note:  Thanks to all who participated in the bio-processor contest.  I will spend some time researching all of your leads and announce the winner within 2 weeks.

Last weekend, I went hiking for the first time in Beijing.  The trip was organized through a free on-line forum called 綠野, which literally means “Green Wild”.  Unfortunately, the hike was neither green nor wild.  The buds of spring have yet to appear in Beijing, and the mountains on which we hiked, though about 30  kilometers (18 miles) from downtown, still put us in view of Beijing’s urban sprawl.

Please note that I am definitely not ragging on Green Wild.  The hike was well-organized and I met some interesting people.  The existence of groups like Green Wild reflects a growing interest in wilderness appreciation and preservation among professional urban Chinese, and that’s a great thing.  I’m sure that I’ll post more about Green Wild activities in the future.

As you may have read in the news, last weekend welcomed the first major sandstorm of the year in Beijing.  These sandstorms are a yearly occurrence in northern China, significantly worsening over the past several decades as deforestation and poor land management resulted in rapid desertification.  China’s government started tackling this problem in earnest through reforestation and re-introduction of wild grasses and shrubbery about ten years ago, and Beijingers thought that the worst was behind them after the last two years passed with no major sandstorms.  There has been progress, but last weekend’s storm showed clearly that the war is not over.

When I woke up on Saturday, the day of the hike, the sky was yellower than my urine after a hard day of digging ditches.  I’m now kicking myself for not taking a picture.  At the time, I was more concerned that the hike would be canceled.  But the Green Wild forum did not announce a cancellation, so I set off into the maelstrom. (continue reading…)

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