A Funny Fake News Story for Earth Day, A Sad Reality


Following up on Jason's post last week about China and pollution, here is a video from the fake (but deadpan funny) Onion News Network (nice article about them in the NY Times today, I've subscribed to their video podcast from the beginning).

The video's not much of a cheery thought for Earth Day. Honestly, Earth Day isn't anything I've really paid too much attention to. Stay tuned tomorrow from a much more earnest Lean & Green post from Jason.

One thing to keep in mind maybe tomorrow — does ANYBODY (your friends or the mass media) point out how much pollution China is adding to the Earth and the atmosphere?

In The Onion clip, the fake Chinese spokesman is proud of China's status as the #1 producer of pollution, saying:

“The labor of the people made the sky black with the smoke of progress”

Now, unfortunately, by even posting this, I run the risk of protests from the Chinese government, as evidenced by their attacks on CNN's Jack Cafferty. China doesn't support freedom of speech in their country, why would they support it here? Calling the Chinese government “goons and thugs” is not a blanket attack against all Chinese people around the world. Sheesh. But, I digress. I'm not nearly big enough for them to come after me. Thanks for all of the pollution and thanks for all the defective, poisonous products, China.

To anyone who would accuse me of hating China or the Chinese people… I don't. I do hate rampant pollution and, more so, the trampling of human rights by a totalitarian state.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. Mark,
    China is certainly a large polluter, but then they are a large country. In addition they are producing for us and we gladly accept the products. Their products cost less than we can produce them for, with our safety and pollution controls. If we are sincere about wanting to stop their pollution we must buy responsibily. Actually China is just going through the same things the USA went through in our development history. Their form of government is different than ours, and I do not agree with their way of government; but I have issues with Bush and Cheney on pollution control and global warming also….

  2. Lester – I think that’s a pretty lame excuse that China is a large country. Their air and water quality is abysmal.

    You’re right we must buy responsibly. More importantly, companies must source responsibly and not just choose the bottom of the barrel “cheapest” supplier.

  3. The reason the large country argument works at all is simply put –
    China took the “number one” status away from the U.S.

    We have a fourth or fewer the population and we’re still number two.

    Pot meet kettle, I am sure he’d love to take you on a tour of gitmo while discussing freedom of speech violations as well.

    I’m teasing you there, but there is a point beneath it.
    Change starts at home, like the wonderful post on google and solar power.

    Lester also has an excellent point – much like we’ve outsourced jobs, we’ve also outsourced the pollution that goes with said jobs.

  4. JThatcher — as a reader of your comments here, I expect better. Assuming a factory in Kansas is shut down and production starts up in China, you expect the China factory to be as clean or cleaner?

    What the U.S. does to prisoners in Gitmo…. comparing that to an ENTIRE COUNTRY and their lack of freedoms? That’s specious reasoning, at best. So a country has to be perfect so they can criticize another? None of us are perfect. But china has toxins in their rivers and pollution in their cities that far blows away anything here in the U.S. Did the U.S. used to be dirtier? Sure, but let’s drag China into the 21st century.

    Does China allow “environmentalists” to run around criticizing their policies and leaders? I doubt it.

    Did Olympians in L.A. (with it’s famous smog) have to wear masks to protect their health, as many expect will happen in Beijing? I don’t remember that.

    The world is starting to wake up to the horrors (political and ecological) in China.

  5. Specious reason is often used, particularly when someone says “I’m teasing you, but there’s an underlying point.” And then, of course, states his underlying point.

    “Assuming a factory in Kansas is shut down and production starts up in China, you expect the China factory to be as clean or cleaner?”

    Actually, no, I expect it to be dirtier and a worse polluter. China’s environmental laws are far more lax than the U.S.’ this is one reason that it is cheaper to move a factory there.

    My point, which you may have missed, was that the owners of said factory, and the consumers of said good, also bear responsibility in the pollution that the factory produces. Not simply the geopolitical entity in which it resides.

    Also, I might want to add, I’ve lived and worked in China for over two years. I lived in Los Angeles for awhile as well.
    While in China I never once wore a mask for pollution. While in Los Angeles, I twice had to due to toxins in the air.

    Admittedly, this was due to forest fires, and anecdotal evidence never proves a point, but I thought it amusing, nonetheless. :)

    The “lack of freedoms” that come with being a citizen, or non-citizen as is the case with many floaters, of China are vast and deserve criticism.

    My point, as I stated, was that change begins at home.
    No country will be perfect, ever.

    But working towards ending civil liberty abuses within your own state, where you are directly effected and affect the nature of sovereignty, is more useful than complaining about a nation of which you have only heard press reports.

    There’s a reason I live in the United States again, and I have no great love for the Chinese corporate state. I simply wish to temper criticisms of “China” that I see as tinging on more based in fear and anger than reason.

  6. Oh, wanted to add – when I say “which you may of missed,” I am in no way insulting you or condescending towards you. I literally just want to clarify what I was getting at.

    Tone is hard in text, and sometimes I use sentence structures that could be taken either way. :)
    (of course, I realized this post-posting).


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