Today I saw what I hadn’t seen previously during my week in Chengdu: blue sky. Yes, there was rain for the past two days, but at other times the sky is usually covered by a haze of industrial pollution so strong that you can look directly at the sun, an orange orb that glows rather than shines.
I was talking yesterday with some people who are involved in the local organic farming movement. They said that interest in organic agriculture is growing because it’s an issue of personal safety: there have been so many instances of tainted food. Of course, we’ve seen some of this as well.
I have an open sore from an insect bite and I’ve been worried about taking a shower, whether it’s safe to let the shower water have access to the inside of my body! But I’ve remembered to use bottled water for all my toothbrushing, instant coffee, and ramen noodles. (No bottled water ban here.)
All of which leads me to questions like: in evaluating a society, is it more important for it to provide democracy or to provide clean drinking water? Some societies have both. Some have neither. Maybe there’s even a causal connection. But if we feel any pride in what America provides, let’s be thankful for the tap water as well as the voting booth.