The “Under the Dome” documentary exposed the harshness of China’s air pollution crisis. It showed the damaging effects that it is having on the millions of people that inhabit the area and exposes the companies that are responsible for allowing it to happen. This stems from oil and petroleum companies having an extreme amount of power in government decision making about the environment. All of their environmental decisions have come second fiddle to ensuring that their economic interests are protected. Chai Jing not only exposes this crisis, but shows the realistic outcome of what will happen if they continue to do what they are doing. Her passion stems from her son being a victim of China’s air pollution problem and her extensive research led her to create this documentary which has been a catalyst to promoting a change in China’s environmental policies and regulations.
The reason that the documentary is banned where it was made is because it exposed the current nature of China’s environment with a myriad of factual data to support it. More importantly, the documentary was banned because the Chinese oil industries did not like being exposed on such a level. She analyzed the air pollution over a long time period and was able to point out a significant issue with the way people especially in Beijing were living. Although Beijing was one of the major cities affected, there were several others in the area over the last 40 years that were also severely impacted due to the extent of the air pollution. Chai Jing effectively made her case against a number of high government officials that is putting the lives of their own people at risk due to their business practices. They valued the money over the health of their people and the members of the community they served. It goes to show the lengths that these oil industries will go to protect their economic interest. This is something that has been prevalent across the world. Many countries put their economic interests over the environment because this is a world that is run by the value of a dollar. Saving the environment does not bring money into the economy, which is why there are a lack of people investing in it.
This documentary demonstrates the impact that long-term pollution has had on people in such a highly populated area. This has exposed their people to increased chances of lung cancer and a reduction in the growth of children in the area. The reason the video is so dangerous is because this is something that people in China have dealt with for years and they are just now hearing the ramifications of the conditions that they have been living in. Chinese residents would be angered watching this because the lives of their families are at-risk and it may explain some of the diseases that people have acquired. China is very densely populated so when this video was released, it must have caused a public outraged. The people probably felt like they had been betrayed by their government and could potentially respond to it in an uproar. Mothers and fathers around the area are most likely in shock while they try to understand the magnitude of the situation. Considering that it has not gotten that much better it is not surprising that the documentary was banned. The government and oil companies feared the reactions of people who would watch the video because they would know who was responsible for causing such extreme damage resulting in their living conditions. Also, many people in China work for places in the iron, coal, and steel industries therefore the number of jobs that would be lost as a result of safer practices being demanded would be extreme. What is even worse is that in some cases, the pollution is worsening. This shows that although people understand the issue of smog, ash, and the emissions that are coming from these factories polluting the air, there are people choosing to ignore them for their monetary gain.
Societies around the world continue to not take environmental issues as seriously as they should. Many places don’t see the ramifications of their actions that are detrimental to environment therefore they continue to proceed with them. Companies like Exxon have the money in place to be able to pay off lobbyists and many other government officials so they can do what they want regardless of its impact on the Earth. It has become very clear that money is the root of the problem with saving the environment. The investment that comes with saving the environment requires monetary sacrifice for an environmental gain that cannot be quantified with dollars. People are accustomed to waiting until the last second to make changes. With this issue it is simply more of the same. Our government will not make the environment a priority because it is more prevalent than it appears and that it is an issue that needs to be fixed immediately.
There have been several occurrences over time where environmental atrocities have decimated lands in a plot for economic gain. Places like Mexico City and L.A have been dealt a great deal of damage to their environment due to the severe pollution that these cities were exposed to. L.A has done very well over recent years in cleaning up the air pollution in the city. This stems from the implementation of newer technologies along with the help of new policies and regulations. Over the last 40 years there has been evidence of smog blanketing Mexico City. That is why Mexico City was recently known to have the worst smog in the world. The poor air quality resulted in thousands of deaths and many more hospital visits. The people of Mexico City fought back and were able to gain major leverage in fighting for cleaner air. The people forced the government to work for cleaner air and their efforts were rewarded. After pushing factories to have more energy efficient methods there was a significant decline in the amount of air pollution hovering over the city. The bright side of this is that now Mexico City is a model that other cities can follow in their mission to fight air pollution.
People have forgotten about these environmental atrocities because people simply do not care all that much. There are a vast amount of people in the world who think that the environmental issues that we see on a daily basis will either go away or somehow fix themselves. It is an ignorance that is perpetuated by media outlets who do not give issues like this enough attention. If more people could see the before and after effects of being persistent and taking care of their environment it would do wonders by allowing people to understand how much of an effect, they could have on their habitat. The rumor that has somehow circulated around communities around the country in the last couple years is that trying to save the environment will not help because we are already too late. The mindset that needs to be adopted is that if people begin taking action now, they will still be able to make a difference because they can. If every person could adopt that mentality, then we can make a ton of progress in our efforts to preserve what’s left our environment.
Making the decision to do so is a costly process that requires patience and persistent over a long period of time. There will almost always be opposition from oil companies and lobbyists that do not have the people’s best interests at heart. During the video, one of the men talked about the number of people from the oil industry who held a spot in office. He said “The standards subcommittee is actually made up of people from the oil industry. About 67%.” This is why there needs to be action taken against these industries. They are playing a pivotal role in people’s lives that is determining the quality of their health. Fighting these battles for environmental protection benefit everyone in the long run, but so few people want to reap those benefits. In order to fight these battles, you need to know that there is a problem in the first place and educate others to the conditions that you may be living in. After recognizing the problem, you can implement a plan to get support from officials inside the government. If the people demand a solution for the air pollution, it is difficult to prevent from happening. If more people get on board with finding solutions to environmental threats that plague nations all over the world, then we will be able to do significant work in preserving our country. There must be a demand to hold businesses accountable when they violate environmental policies. In China, they were able to provide more incentives for the businesses to stop what they were doing by allowing leeway with other regulations. Although it may not be the best solution, it is one that will have a significant positive impact on their communities. It takes determination to fight environmental threats when it is an uphill slope. Many obstacles and people will try to deter you from the path but it is important to stay true to the solution that is ethically sound. In the long run, it is much more beneficial than any amount of money that these businesses could have produced. Nowadays we have gotten so caught up with our economic interests that we leave no room for the environment and it is a shame.
It is mind boggling that the safety of the planet that we reside takes a backseat to every other issue in most people’s lives. It’s also extremely unfortunate because the state of our environment will ultimately impact someone in our lives at some point. The pollution that is in the air in China affects current citizens as much as it does future citizens who are being born on a daily basis. People need to come to an understanding that our reason for protecting the environment is primarily to protect the Earth but it is also to protect the health of the individuals in our lives that we care about. Children should not have to live under environmental circumstances that could be detrimental to their health over long periods of time, yet we continue to let it happen every single day. The biggest problem is that if there were enough people on board, we could make a tremendous difference in saving the environment but that is simply not the case. We consider the environment to be someone else’s problem to deal with but what people need to understand is that this is our planet and we are the ones responsible for taking care of it.
We have developed a disconnect with our environment when each day we live in unison with the environment that is around us. The air that we breathe comes from trees; we visit national parks to witness their beauty but when it comes time to provide help to the same environment we love to observe, we are nowhere to be found. The Earth is simply an extension to our own living bodies but for some reason we have become separated from it. Many people focus on immediate problems and most do not consider the environment to be an issue that needs our immediate attention. Most people’s priorities lie with obtaining the nice house or the nice car in order to elevate our social status but their carbon footprint continues to go up and no one bats an eye. The difficulty lies with getting people to understand that saving our environment is a priority and a significant one at that. Since many people do not see the ramifications of their actions on the environment they continue about their lives as if everything is great. This is an issue that needs to be at the forefront of people’s minds.