The Terrifying Future Of Republican America Revealed In 27 Photos

Two countries have major pollution issues, but — thanks to the Republicans — only one has any interest in doing anything about it. And it’s not us.

Pollution in China’s a serious problem, and we Americans sure love feeling superior to them. There’s just one problem: We’re not. The wealthy plutocrats who run this country aren’t just exporting America’s jobs to China, they’re also exporting our pollution. No minimum wage, safety or environmental regulations? A win-win. Plus, our Captains of Industry get to export their filthy oil and coal to China, too.

But wait… Not so fast. First, outsourcing our pollution to China is coming back to bite us in the butt. 29 percent of San Francisco’s particulate air pollution comes from China, according to ZME Science. Second, the Chinese government has begun taking major steps to address pollution in China. Sure, they’ve got a long way to go. But at least they’re moving forward. Here in America, we’re moving backwards.

Here’s what our future looks like.

LA Smog 1968 and Cuyahoga River fire 1969

Photo 1: Smog in Los Angeles, CA in 1968 (Herald-Examiner Collection photo courtesy of The Los Angeles Public Library via KCET). Photo 2: Cuyahoga River on fire, 1969 (Ohio History Central).

Remember this? These two photos shed some perspective on pollution in China. 50 years ago, the U.S. was just as bad. The photo on the left shows the high level of smog in Los Angeles, CA in 1968 (it’s still awful, but nothing like it was back then). The photo on the right shows Ohio’s Cuyahoga River in 1969, which was so polluted it caught on fire.

Americans were so horrified, lawmakers took action almost right away. First, we created the Environmental Protection Agency and strengthened the 1963 Clean Air Act in 1970. Then, we passed the Clean Water Act in 1972. That’s back when we used to get stuff done. Can you imagine John Boehner’s and Mitch McConnell’s Congress  moving that fast? Or doing anything to ensure that we all have access to clean air and clean water?

Hell, no. The GOP don’t need no stinkin’ Mother Nature. Apparently, their wealthy paymasters have found some other source of clean air and water. Kochs and company have put tons of money into bogus “studies” and “news” reporting so we’ll think solid climate science is up for debate. They’ve gotten us to think clean air and water is “bad for business,” that solar and wind power can’t work, that fossil fuels are clean and safe, and that it’s perfectly fine for us to drive huge monster trucks and SUVs.

Pollution used to be the price we paid for a rich economy, but it doesn’t have to be that way any more. We can embrace cleaner technologies and help our neighbors and trading partners do the same. We can force the heads of destructive companies to comply with clean air and water standards here and abroad by banning goods that don’t meet these standards.

Or, we can keep letting these companies do whatever the hell they want and keep voting for Republicans. In which case, we can all look forward to a future that looks like the photos below.

It’s morning in Republican America.

For those of you who are too young to remember, cities in the US looked an awful lot like the following photos from China. And if we let Republicans take down the EPA and roll back the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, this is what we’ll see in the near future.

Pollution in china: Polluted water way with dead fish.

Pollution in China – Photo 3: Dead fish and garbage.
China Xinhua News @XHNews Feb 6
China police handle 4,500 pollution crimes, arrest 8,400 suspects in 2014, 6 times of 2013

Pollution in China: Young boy with arm floaties swimming in algae-choked water.

Pollution in China – Photo 4: Algae.
Waste Shifter @WasteShifter Feb 1
These pictures put China’s #pollution problem in a new perspective.

Pollution in China: Swimming in muck.

Pollution in China – Photo 5: Swimming in muck.
Probe International @ProbeIntl 5 Apr 2013
Dramatic images of water pollution in China. … #Chinapollution #waterpollution

Pollution in China: Water quality.

Pollution in China – photo 6: Poor water quality.
Thaddeus Howze @ebonstorm Sep 21
Water quality there is excellent too. China’s water pollution is affecting hundreds of millions of people. #vote

Pollution in China: Chemical pollution.

Pollution in China – photo 7: Chemical pollution.
Nichole @Lightworker322 Dec 2
Something you don’t hear a lot about is #ChemicalPollution, This picture was taken in China.

Smog in China forces millions to wear face masks.

China pollution: Jogging Beijing style.

Pollution in China – photo 8: Jogging Beijing style.
Kyle Kim ‏@kyleykim 26 Feb 2014
Jogging, Beijing style | China’s biggest online face-mask sellers are running out of stock.

China pollution: Fashion-forward face masks.

Pollution in China – photo 9: Fashion-forward face masks.
SCMP News @SCMP_News Jan 26
Fashion-forward face masks a big hit in China amid soaring air pollution

Pollution in China: Smog.

Pollution in China – photo 10: Smog.
More Kel Bells @kellybelz96 Feb 5
Smog is a very serious problem in China, people usually wear
masks to help them breath @geography_411

Pollution in China: Smog wedding.

Pollution in China – photo 11: Smog wedding.
People’s Daily, China @PDChina Feb 5
Air pollution in 31 mainland China major cities may have caused 257K premature deaths in 2013.

Pollution in China: Beijing "nearly uninhabitable."

Pollution in China – photo 12: Beijing “almost uninhabitable.”
Susan Chan Shifflett @susanyichen Dec 29
Shanghai researchers describe Beijing as almost “uninhabitable
for human beings” #pollution

Pollution in China: Child in respirator.

Pollution in China – photo 13: Child in respirator.
Water Conserve News @EI_Water 22 Apr 2013
#water Pollution Is Radically Changing Childhood in China’s Cities: NYT *ecocide tyranny

Pollution in China: Televised sunrise.

Pollution in China – photo 14: Televised sunrise.
El Anwar Musa El @darkuniverse11 Dec 23
“@QueenChellaaa: China starts televising the Sunrise because of
Pollution. Wow ” Damnnnnnnnnn!!!!

Pollution in China: Tourist photo backdrop.

Pollution in China – photo 15: Tourist photo backdrop.
kokeshi doll @Zhiqizhiqi Jan 27
wow seriously China stop being delusional the pollution barely made anything visible

Pollution in China causes scary side effects.

China pollution: Wading through mountains of garbage.

Pollution in China – photo 16: “Cancer villages.”
Sustainable Energy @Sustainablehero Jan 19
BBC News – China acknowledges ‘cancer villages’ … #China
#pollution #action2015 #ActOnClimate

Pollution in China: "Handicapped" babies being abandoned in  Shanxi Province.

Pollution in China – photo 17: “Handicapped” babies being abandoned in Shanxi Province.
Chip Jacobs @ChipJacobs1 Sep 24
In China, air pollution causes two birth defects every minute #CHINASMOG One person who “makes a living by recycling trash” adopted 25 abandoned children.

Pollution in China: Painful swellings from closed lead mine.

Pollution in China – photo 18: Painful swellings caused by water polluted by closed lead mine.
Rachel Cunningham @RCHanoi Dec 3
@MailOnline Mekong River countries fears of upstream pollution in China v real. #ClimateAction

Pollution in China: Piles of garbage everywhere.

Pollution in China – photo 19: Piles of garbage everywhere.
Ina @InaMaziarcz 24 Jun 2013
Piles of Garbage everywhere, Air Quality described as “Soupy”, Ecosystems in Decline…and its SPREADING. #CHINA

Pollution in China: 29 percent of San Francisco's particulate  pollution comes from China.

Pollution in China – photo 20: 29% of San Francisco’s particulate air pollution comes from China.
Hillary Griffith @hillarygriffith Mar 29
Air pollution from China in #SF, water pollution in Mexico from the US. We need to go beyond Nationalism.

And of course the Chinese have their share of lawmakers and government officials who remain in deep denial.

Pollution in China: Smog caused by bacon?

Pollution in China – photo 21: Smog caused by bacon?
[ China News ] @goinsidechina Jan 16
Chinese environmental official Rao Bing blames bacon for causing smog, Xinhua says.[email protected]

Unlike the Republicans in Congress, the Chinese government realizes pollution is a serious problem.

Pollution in China: Tough measures.

Pollution in China – photo 22: Tough measures. @chinaorgcn Jan 11
More Chinese cities have been turning to tough measures to rein
in #pollution.

Pollution in China: Water pollution collected in yellow bags.

Pollution in China – photo 23: Water pollution collected in yellow bags.
POST Online Media @poandpo Jun 15
China mulls $321 billion to treat water pollution … #ecology

Pollution in China: It's still bad, but some see hope. Man walking dog, both wearing face masks.

Pollution in China – photo 24: It’s still bad, but some see hope.
Paulson Institute ‏@PaulsonInst Feb 26
Clearing Skies: A journalist who fled China’s air pollution looks back and sees rays of hope:

Pollution in China: Photo from documentary. Theresa Fallon ‏@TheresaAFallon  5h5 hours ago Chai Jing,formr CCTV presentr,releasd self-funded documentary on   #China's #pollution  26613929.html … @PDChina

Pollution in China – photo 25: From documentary.
Theresa Fallon ‏@TheresaAFallon 5h5 hours ago
Chai Jing,formr CCTV presentr,releasd self-funded documentary on
#China’s #pollution … @PDChina

Pollution in China: Documentary.

Pollution in China – photo 26: Documentary.
Cate Long ‏@cate_long 9h9 hours ago
Viewed over 35 million times @ChuBailiang: Documentary on Air Pollution Grips China

The top 20 most polluted cities aren’t even in China.

Yet 25 cities are more toxic than Beijing, believe it or not…

Pollution in China: Toxic smog.

Pollution in China – Photo 27: Toxic smog.
Energydesk @Energydesk Jan 27
Data: China coal burning air pollution makes 25 cities more toxic than Beijing

… And the top 20 most polluted cities in the world are in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, and Qatar. China doesn’t even make the list.

The top 20 polluted cities aren't even in China.  Energydesk @Energydesk  Dec 17 The four most polluted cities in the world are not in China - but in India

The world’s top 20 polluted cities aren’t even in China.
Energydesk @Energydesk Dec 17
The four most polluted cities in the world are not in China – but in India

Pollution in China is scary, but understandable: It’s part of a process all industrialized nations have gone through. But the fact that we are exploiting China’s cheap labor — while selling them coal and helping them destroy their natural resources — is nothing less than evil. Instead of gawking over the insane levels of smog in Beijing, we could have helped them avoid it in the first place.

Featured photo: Composite with Disaster Girl meme and Oill sullage tank explosion (cc 2011 Moshi Anahory via Wikimedia Commons).