It seems to be getting worse every day.
My mind was wandering as I sorted samples this morning and I suddenly, randomly, remembered a wet, grey Saturday when we lived in the Hudson Valley. We were bored and restless so we drove down to Beacon to go to the art museum. We timed our departure wrong and got stuck in traffic on our way out of town. I had the low blood sugar crazies and was not acting my age.
... on a recent driving tour back from another field site I began to feel overwhelmed by the scale of the environmental degradation here in China. The land and water are caught between industries scrambling increase production and everyday people just trying to make it to next year...and just SO MANY people. Poor people don't have the luxury of planning for the long term and industries just don't care. It is just not sustainable and it is depressing.
Whenever I am beginning to feel a little overwhelmed by how to scale up my work to the big picture, or just generally like I am suffering from academic myopia, I go back and watch this video of Majora Carter at TED. I had the great opportunity to work with her organization Sustainable South Bronx for a few years when I was at the NYC Parks Dept. and served on a committee or two with her. She is fantastic and dynamic and makes me want to be a better, more active, broader thinking person. The beginning of this is touching, the middle is a little pitch-y, but the end, when she calls out Al Gore for selling her short, is priceless. What would our world be like if we had more Majoras? How can we best take her message and apply it to the developing world?
Having no end of trouble finding a song to go behind my "Farewell & thanks for everything!" slideshow... every song ever written sounds silly behind pictures of me doing fieldwork in the desert in China.
My time in China is coming to an end; I have one week left. This is both exciting and terrifying.