Building without sin


London to Ho Chi Minh by train (and boat!): Day 46.

Every day I’m blown away by the level of construction here in China. This beautiful pagoda was built 1400 years ago and still stands today. The great wall sweeps across much of the country and kept out unwanted neighbours for centuries.

And just as in times gone by, the construction continues, but this time it’s skyscrapers, apartment blocks, motorways, high-speed railways, and metro lines. Despite the human and environmental costs involved, the pace is really quite inspiring. Where it would take the UK about 10 years to build a new train line, China seems to build bigger, faster and better in around two.

Today we took a 12 hour train ride over 750km. By next year a new train will be ready to do the same route in 3 hours. That’s like Brighton to Edinburgh and then some.

Imagine what could be achieved if nations cooperated in creating bold but sustainable solutions to transport, energy and housing. Imagine if we did this without bulldozing forests or polluting the rivers. Our legacy would be even more inspiring and lasting than that of the ancient peoples of the planet that came before us.

Next stop: Chengdu

— in Xian, China.

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