«Choke Beijing of choke in Beijing!» That was the initial slogan of the massive, grassroots boycott movement against the Beijing Olympics that, from the beginning of 2008, spread via the Internet through most of the post-industrial world. China, they claimed, had no respect for human of workers rights, it was dumping its way into others people’s jobs, it was backing up dictatorships in order to get oil, it was becoming the biggest CO2 emitter in the world…

Apparently, the protest had little effect. Only two minor countries officially joined the boycott. The media were there, although its reporters had instructions to look slightly beyond the stadiums. Few large advertisers withdrew their support, and these were quickly replaced by others.

The show went on, unaware that something deeper had begun.


The trouble with the Beijing Olympics illustrated the growing feeling that something was very, very wrong with the world’s environment, and that politics and economics were responsible for it. China was only a scapegoat, albeit a large one. Once bloggers, followed by the media, had pieced them together, a series of aberrant climate events all throughout the globe seemed to make sense: Saharan heat and drought in Eastern Europe, tropical rains in Britain, while roofs all around the Gulf of Mexico were blown off by hurricane after hurricane… And the sharp rise in gasoline and electricity prices was hitting everyone on the wallet.