Saturday, November 23, 2013

38th Parallel authors compared to famous travelers of the 1930s

After our 38th parallel book slide talk at the Alpine County library (Markleeville, CA), this notice ran in Tom Sweeney's local newsletter:
"The program... TRAVELING THE 38th PARALLEL, A WATER LINE AROUND THE WORLD, last Saturday was an enjoyable time for all the armchair adventurers in attendance; it was a full house. Modern day Martin and Osa Johnsons*, David and Janet Carle shared their travels and the book they wrote about them. If you missed it and ever get another chance be sure to take advantage of it."
**stars of the great 1950s "I Married Adventure" series

So we looked up the Johnsons, who traveled in the 1920s and '30s, wrote about, and filmed their adventures. Osa's book "I Married Adventure" is still available at online book stores.    

Monday, November 18, 2013

News from China about better environmental protection...maybe.

A Reuters article about new China policies on the environment sounds like good news regarding the tension between economic growth and environmental degradation. The government of China has announced reforms to beef up the Ministry of the Environment's oversight and reduce focus on uncontrolled economic growth.  During our travels across the nation on the 38th parallel, we saw some of the serious pollution problems generated by the nation's recent push to grow, grow, grow.
   The article also mentions the tendency we observed to build grandiose national park structures instead of addressing underlying issues with impacts of development (see our blog from April 28, 2011, "National Parks of Yinchuan, Playgrounds or Preserves?"

   We also interviewed an environmental NGO, "Green Camel Bell" in Lanzhou, where staff struggle to address such issues.  University professor, Zhang Songlin, at Northwest Normal University told us, "In old times, the belief was that if you harm the environment, you would be punished.  Now, increased GDP is the belief."  Professor Songlin was not very hopeful, at that time, but perhaps these 2013 reforms are going to help.
See our blog from May 1, 2011:  "Up the Yellow River to Lanzhou's Green Camel Bell."


Wednesday, November 13, 2013


"The stories are inspiring, sometimes heartbreaking, and should whet the appetite for more information about the history and environment of the areas.  Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates and general readers.   --R. C. Hedreen, Southern Connecticut State University"
October 2013
 CHOICE review of Traveling the 38th Parallel