Snow Causes Environmental and Social Disaster in China

While we worry about foreclosures and the price of gas, it seems like there is a disaster unfolding in China that is almost un-reported in the West.

Snow disaster leaves 1.6 mln people frostbitten in NW China province _English_Xinhua

Severe snow disasters have left 1.65 million people snowblind and frostbitten, 500,000 livestock and wildlife dead and 3.1 million others on verge of starvation in Tibetan prefectures of northwestern Qinghai Province. Since October last year, consecutive low temperature had gripped the province. The temperature plunged to minus 36.3 degrees centigrade, the record lowest in January in the province, said the provincial meteorological bureau.

I’m sceptical of anything published in China, but this one is troubling. Check out some of the photos and video on this page. Sure it’s propaganda, but the scale of effort required is huge.

To me this sounds far worse than the New Orleans disaster of a few years ago, but being in China… well it doesn’t make the news unless it’s a nuclear test right?

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Urban Planning and Healthcare

28058869_185074aff7_m The next ten years will say a lot about the provincial and federal support for healthcare facilities in rural areas.

With the average age of the population increasing, something needs to be done to ensure that adequate healthcare for the elderly is available in rural communities. It is not appropriate to suggest that elderly residents should have to move away from their hometown to find a bed in a care facility or hospital that caters to common elderly issues.

The Situation in the States

A recent article from down in the states points out how much investment has been pumped into the health care system in many states. We’re talking billions of dollars in upgrades and new construction. This is a massive turn around from the seventies on, where there had been a decline in many areas in healthcare infrastructure spending.

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The Boom goes on

The most significant expansion and replacement of U.S. hospitals since the post-World War II building spree continues to fuel a red-hot construction market. With hundreds of additional projects in the planning stages, it’s a trend that’s expected to last through the rest of the decade.

Read more after the jump…

Foreclosure

The past two months have seen an increase in the number of media references I’ve seen relating to the housing bubble and resulting foreclosures down in the states. In Canada we seem to feel a little immune from the major effects of this situation, but economically, whether we like it or not, we are tied to the States for much of our national well being.

What is of interest to me is how much media coverage this is getting, compared to say the idea of sustainability or climate change. Given the long term nature of climate change, and the fact that an ex-presidential candidate even made a movie about it, wouldn’t you think that Americans might have an interest in it? Certainly the media has covered it, but looking at the following graphs of search and news trends from Google Trends provides an interesting picture of the relative search-worthiness of the terms.

Looking at Trends

Comparing the following two graphs, note that the News Reference Volume, (measured on the bottom graph) shows the term "climate change" was much more active in the news than "foreclosure". However, the main differences are seen in what people in America have been searching for, compared with the whole world. The first graph shows the trend of all searches across the world for the relevant terms. The second show the trend for America. What this clearly shows is that "foreclosure" was almost exclusively an American search term in 2007, while Americans searched for the term "climate change" approximately four times less frequently. Read more after the jump…