A big pat on the back for the nation's leaders as China's economy surpasses that of Japan to become the world's second largest. There are concerns, of course, but most business types here seem pretty happy with the 'miracle' unfolding in our backyard. The economic, political and diplomatic challenges brought about by this development have been discussed at length in the media - but let's not underestimate the environmental consequences. The machine that is Chinese industry is gobbling up more and more of the world's resources - it's now the No1 buyer of iron ore and close to being the top importer of crude oil - and churning out a growing mountain of stuff. This stuff then has to be transported thousands of miles to market. Much of the money China earns by selling its stuff is invested in factories, roads, trains and power plants, which increase the nation's capacity to produce even more stuff. Where will it end? In a degraded world raped of its assets, wracked by extreme-weather events and enveloped in pollution - but full of things no one really needs - that's where. Unless, of course, someone devises a far less destructive model for economic development. If you're listening up there in Beijing or over there in Washington, stuff the stuff, we'd prefer a world fit for human habitation, please.