Those ‘Under the Dome’ Live Different Lives

By: Gloria Liu, Staff Writer

For the first time in 14 years since 2000, the NASDAQ index went over 5,000 on Monday, March 2. Also for the first time in China, dozens of eco-technology stocks soared above ten percent (the upper limit of a stock increase). It seems that technology is booming all over the world, bringing prosperity to the economy. But reasons vary for the strong tech stocks performance. The eco-technology stocks over-performance in the Chinese market is due to a recent big hit documentary Under the Dome.

Smog in Harbin, China

The documentary, directed and produced by a famous Chinese journalist, Jing Chai, depicts the smog issue in China. Chai intends to answer three questions: What is smog? Where does it come from? How to solve the issue? On release of the film, major online video website hits went over 1.3 million in just one day.  Regardless of the accolades and criticism for the film, Chai indeed points out the accelerating concern of environment versus economic growth. As China experienced rapid market construction and growth since the 1970s, it is now the world’s second largest economy. This growth path is largely resources-driven, exploiting massive natural coal, oil, gas, as well as cheap labor. Driven by GDP, the Chinese government sacrificed the environment for the sake of economic benefits. And now with living standards going up, people no longer want to live with toxic air and water. With anger accumulating, the government, all of a sudden, stresses sustainable development, despite this strategy possibly hampering the GDP growth.

As I was watching the video, I was hit by the sharp comparison between the environment here and back home. For many wealthy Chinese families, they can easily settle down in developed countries where the air is fresh, the sky is blue, and the weather is warm. And many of them indeed move abroad. But escape is never the solution. There are still billions of people breathing poisonous air everyday. As a matter of fact, this environment vs. economy dilemma exists in China today, in the UK and the U.S. before, and probably will in other emerging markets soon.

At Thunderbird, we are educated to ‘create sustainable prosperity worldwide’. Businesses can go a long way to help people improve their lives, to create a better world for not only our generation, but also generations after us. I am pleased to find eco-tech companies have the incentive. And I know that there’s so much more to do.

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