Summer's over and the hope-inspiring greenery outside is shriveling up to make way for a barren, icy winter, so let's check out some ultra-blighted parts of the world, just for fun. A new list of the world's 10 most polluted places completely skips over the United States. Chernobyl speaks for itself, for instance. Have a strong argument for your own backyard? Go ahead, nominate your own site. The Blacksmith Institute, a collaboration between governments and nonprofits around the globe that put together the list, will hear your plea.
This reminds me of Google Maps' virtual tour guide of eco-friendly U.S. vacation spots this summer. Google should help the Blacksmith Institute with its maps. Look at how empty their map looks (above) next to the satellite views you can grab for free at Google Maps and its rival sites.
Google's polishing its "do no evil" green credentials lately. The Googleplex is going solar, becoming the world's biggest office to run on sunshine (catch a glimpse here). In an example of Google tech used for good, iLoveMountains.org makes use of Google Earth software to take you on a dizzying tour of decapitated mountains throughout Appalachia.
When people talk about clean coal, don't believe the doublespeak. Mountaintop mining has already decimated some 800 square miles, according to the site, burying 1,000 miles of streams and just generally depressing people who used to have a nice view from their windows. Install Google Earth for 3-D proof. On a brighter note, Blacksmith does detail progress in cleaning up radiation as well as cancerous contamination of groundwater and air around Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa.