This news item from Yunnan province, in the very south of China, would be hilarious if it weren't so sad. Gives a whole new meaning to the idea of greenery . . . . An item in NY Times on the same matter (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/15/world/asia/15briefs-MOUNTAINGREE_BRF.html?_r=1&oref=slogin)
Villagers outraged after quarry painted green (SCMP 2/14/07)
A county forestry department in Yunnan province has come under fire for spending more than 400,000 yuan to paint a former quarry green. Thousands of square metres of the hill, part of Laoshou Mountain in Kunming's Fumin county, were sprayed green in August after the quarry was closed, the Kunming-based Metropolis Times reported. Seven workers spent 45 days on the project which cost 470,000 yuan, the newspaper quoted one of the workers as saying.
A villager who lives at the foot of the hill said: "At first we thought they were spraying pesticide and would start planting trees soon, then we found the empty paint containers ...Why green the mountain with paint? It's not a building."
Some locals speculated that the project was meant to improve the fung shui of the new county government office, which faces the painted mountain directly, the report said.
"If the money was spent on buying saplings, they would cover several mountains," another villager said.
"The project is not useful and does not look nice."
A county government spokesman declined to comment on the report, saying he first needed to verify certain issues.
Lest anyone laugh about this foolishness, however, the idea is not new, certainly not to the U.S. Back in the early 1970s, Los Angeles tried to place plastic trees in the city because real trees kept dying from the urban pollution. The perversity of that endeavor led Lawrence Tribe to write a law review article (either in the Harvard Law Review or the Yale Law Journal, I forget) about the plastic trees controversy.