Having just returned from the countryside, I already miss its bitingly cold, naturally clean water, its lush vegetation, its air free from the brown dust that characterizes Beijing. To be fair, Beijing hasn’t been so terrible lately—the past several days have been a striking blue—although every time a car passes by me on the street I still have to close my eyes for fear of dust or dirt blowing into them. However, Beijing’s neighboring villages still feel a world removed, and not just because horses roam the uneven dirt paths and roosters signal the advent of morning. The air even smells different: when it doesn’t reek of manure, rural air smells like mountain water and moist vegetation. For these reasons, I am especially glad that Beijing’s countryside has gone solar, and that its inhabitants have electricity and hot water without the polluting side effects of fossil fuel usage.