A star has risen in the East and sheds light where darkness has reigned for too long. The name of that star is Chai Jing. This is a name you will hear again. Run, don't walk, to Youtube.
The most important documentary to come out of China is online -- for now. 150 million watched it the first week it was released. The Chinese government quickly banned it and now blocks all online access to it. Join the millions who have watched it since Beijing dropped the hammer on it domestically.
Imagine a TED Talk like "Inconvenient Truth" but with all the intensity of the best "60 Minutes" or "Frontline" episode you ever saw. Throw in a little "NOVA" or Neil deGrasse Tyson and you start to get a picture of what is waiting for you. Who is the force of nature behind this journalistic tsunami? I'm glad you asked.... Chai Jing is a journalist like we rarely see anymore. She is Woodward AND Bernstein AND Nellie Bly. She's Bill Moyers AND Bill Nye. They don't make 'em like this anymore.
As if that wasn't enough..... there's more! Add an emotional appeal that grabs you starting at 00:48 and sinks its teeth into you 4 minutes later. If you care about the environment, global warming, clean air, and the role of China, the remaining 1 hour and 40 minutes will keep you riveted.
Chia Jing produced this with $160,000 of her own money and released it FREE online. When you see the monied interests she is taking on -- the National People's Congress, the coal industry, the automotive industry, the petrochemical industry and more, you realize just how brave this woman is.
The delivery is pitch perfect. The graphics are informative and engaging. There is no histrionics (I warn you, she sets the hook DEEP less than a minute into this production), no hyperbole, no rhetorical games, no bullying, intimidation, manipulation, or misrepresentation.... just straight in your face full frontal reporting that doesn't give a damn about whose sacred cow gets gored.
The only flaw in the production is Chai Jing fails to explain what PM 2.5 actually is. This is important because it is the main focus of her presentation. It's what drives everything. Her audience knows what it is, and I suspect something got lost in translation to English. So let me explain it now:
What is Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM2.5)?
The term fine particles, or particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5), refers to tiny particles or droplets in the air that are two and one half microns or less in width. Like inches, meters and miles, a micron is a unit of measurement for distance. There are about 25,000 microns in an inch. The widths of the larger particles in the PM2.5 size range would be about thirty times smaller than that of a human hair. The smaller particles are so small that several thousand of them could fit on the period at the end of this sentence.
How can PM2.5 affect my health?
Particles in the PM2.5 size range are able to travel deeply into the respiratory tract, reaching the lungs. Exposure to fine particles can cause short-term health effects such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. Exposure to fine particles can also affect lung function and worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease. Scientific studies have linked increases in daily PM2.5 exposure with increased respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions, emergency department visits and deaths. Studies also suggest that long term exposure to fine particulate matter may be associated with increased rates of chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function and increased mortality from lung cancer and heart disease. People with breathing and heart problems, children and the elderly may be particularly sensitive to PM2.5.
Now you won't be shocked when Chai Jing informs us that experts estimate PM2.5 is responsible for an excess 500,000 deaths a year
in China. To put that in perspective, if you took all the gun deaths AND all the automotive deaths in the USA, it would take eight years to kill that many people. The problem is real... and it's big. When you get something this big and this real, you know
it's going to be personal. Want to see what a Mama Grizzly looks like? THIS is what a Mama Grizzly looks like.
All this is why I believe Under The Dome is one of those pieces that comes along once or twice in a generation. Now is that time.
Here it is (link for those on mobile devices).
Under The Dome -- Investigating China's Smog
Watch it, share it, promote it. She's done her part. Now it's your turn to do yours.