Recent editions of Nature magazine have presented columns showing stark contrast between how China and the U.S., the top two economies in the world, approach environmental problems. Jixi Gao, director of the Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences in China, relates that the rapid growth of China has caused pollution and flooding. He and "other environmental scientists were included in constructive talks with government leaders" with the result that China now plans to protect one-quarter of its land to preserve biodiversity and the ecosystem [i].
In the U.S., on June 14, President Trump issued an executive order to cut the number of advisory committees by one-third or more. There are about 1,000 advisory committees, with 60,000 members, who provide input on decisions regarding health (e.g., food-borne illnesses), safety, and the environment.
This drastic excision of institutional knowledge was done supposedly to save money, but these advisory panels cost little, and thousands of world-class scientists donate their time gratis to advise the government. By eliminating the panels that provide the factual evidence upon which rational decisions should be based, the government is simply making itself stupid. The Trump administration's attacks on science [ii] include censoring the words "climate change, halting a study by the National Academy of Sciences, and reversing a ban on a pesticide linked to neurological conditions in children."
Our "foe," China, uses the best available information to solve its problems whereas the U.S. not only makes willfully wrong-headed decisions, but is actively dismantling its institutional knowledge base. Guess which country will dominate the world within the next decade!
[i] How China will protect one-quarter of its land. Jixi Gao. Nature 569:457, 23 May, 2019.
[ii] Trump's plan would make government stupid. Gretchen T. Goldman. Nature 570:417, 27 June, 2019.
Answer Book 2019
To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.
Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.
|Submit Letter To The Editor|
|Place a Classified Ad|