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Olympics in the Desert?

There's a dust bowl growing in China that's far bigger than the one that hit the U.S. in the 1930s. It's so big it was being studied from space?how dust affects global warming was one of the science projects on board the shuttle Columbia. China fought hard to have the 2008 Olympics held in Beijing, but now they're worried that the city will be a desert by the time the athletes arrive. 40% of China may soon become a desert and it's affecting other countries as well. Chinese dust clouds regularly make it all the way across the Pacific to the U.S. Dust has shut down schools and airports in South Korea and Japan, and one Korean car factory has started shrink-wrapping its cars as they come off the assembly line.

"No country has ever faced a potential ecological catastrophe on the scale of the dust bowl now developing in China," says Lester Brown, of the Earth Policy Institute. "Merely grasping its dimensions and consequences poses a serious analytical challenge."

The cause is the same for China as it was for the U.S. dust bowl: bad farming techniques and overgrazing. But in China, there are too many people to feed who have nowhere to migrate. Soon they're going to have to start importing most of their food. Brown says, "Grain prices could double?impoverishing more people in a shorter period of time than any event in history. It would create a world food economy dominated by scarcity rather than by surpluses, as has been the case over most of the last half a century."

The weather is changing all over the world, and animals and humans will have to change with it. Don?t listen to the ostriches with their heads in the (Chinese) sand, who say there?s no such thing as global warming?learn the facts.

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