Profile of Environmentalist Ma Jun

An environmental researcher by trade, Ma spent years chronicling China's ecological catastrophes. Some of what he witnessed was inexorable and slow, like the graying of the Beijing sky; last December, the World Health Organization ranked Beijing 1,035th, out of 1,100 international cities, in air quality. Other results of his country's unfettered growth were horrific, like the massive flooding of the Yangtze in 1998, after years of deforestation and soil erosion. Eventually, he decided that merely telling the story was not enough. "As a media person, you look to expose the problem," he says, "but you can't stop there-—people are looking for answers."