Living in Beijing right now has made me rather ambivalent toward China’s environmental policies. It doesn't come as a surprise to anyone that the PRC isn’t the poster country for eco-consciousness. Almost everybody drinks their water either boiled or from a bottle, and a blue sky day in Shanghai or Beijing is a rare day indeed. To its credit, however, the planet’s largest consumer of energy is attempting to clean up its act through measures such as a nationwide plastic bag ban or putting on a Green Olympics, and, most inspiring—or paradoxical—of all, being home to several solar cities. And no, these solar oases are not showpieces, developed solely for admiration during the Olympics. Here are but a few of the most well-known.