Your 4.9-ounce iPod is responsible for at least 200 times its weight in greenhouse-gas emissions.When you bought your last Apple iPod, you may have been aware that it had been manufactured at a factory in China, perhaps the Foxconn plant in Shenzhen in the province of Guangzhou. (Let's put aside for the moment the working conditions there.) You may have been aware too that in manufacturing your electronic marvel, the Shenzhen plant emitted roughly 25 pounds of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. It's even possible that you were aware of the 9-10 pounds of CO2 emitted in transporting the device …
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Daniel K. Gardner is Dwight W. Morrow Professor of History and Director of the Program in East Asian Studies at Smith College. He has written on the cultural and intellectual history of China through the 20th century and is now completing an introduction to Confucianism for Oxford University Press. Having spent last summer doing field research at an environmental NGO in Beijing, he has developed an interest in China's environmental issues today -- and how they are to be understood in the context of rapid social, political, cultural, and economic change.
He is author of ChinaMusings.com and has contributed articles to the International Herald Tribune, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, and Huffington Post.