A Holistic and Proactive Approach to Biodiversity and Green Development from the Perspective of a Chinese Non-Governmental Organization
- China: A Broad Panorama
As progress was being made against the goals of hunger eradication and poverty alleviation, Mr. Deng Xiaoping enhanced the ancient concept of” Xiaokang” – “a relatively well-off society for all” with the insight that this could only be achieved and maintained with due attention and care paid to nature and that development to be beneficial must be truly inclusive and truly sustainable.
Following this and the insistence that development must be people centered, China understood the need to focus on the national long term task of building a harmonious society and the understanding that to be truly and enduringly harmonious the harmony must not only extend beyond the borders of China and include all peoples of the world but above all it must include harmony between human beings and nature.
My own father, Mr. Hu Yaobang, during his tenure as the leader of China stated “In the past, in the mountains we only paid attention to investments in engineering or construction. We paid no attention to biological investments with the result that the biological environment was destroyed. … We must as soon as possible turn Taihang Mountain the Yellow Dragon into a green dragon”
More recently, Mr. Xi Jinping has given voice to the national vision which can be termed” China’s Dream”; it is the dream of a prosperous life style reconciled with a sustainable lifestyle. To bridge the gap between the reality of today and this dream requires radical restructuring where the needs of people and nature are the fundamental concern and at the heart of all development where green technology is promoted and wide spread conspicuous consumption is reduced.
Flowing from a shared understanding that “everything is closely related” and that “today’s problems call for a vision capable of taking into account every aspect of the global crisis.” The basic concept encoded in Pope Francis term “integral ecology” is deeply imbedded in China’s direction and approaches as it has been ingrained in the deep culture and spirit of the Chinese people.
From the Chinese perspective, this is the context in which the world should receive and assess the teaching of the Encyclical “Laudato Si “which Pope Francis underscored most forcefully days ago by describing our destruction of the environment as a sin that is turning our planet into a “polluted wasteland full of debris, desolation and filth”.
These strong words and powerful description ring true in China where we understand that what the Pope is talking about is not some distant future but that the impacts of environmental degradation, climate change, the destruction of ecosystems and biodiversity loss are becoming clearly evident to all as is the fact that even in the short term the less privileged members of society, the poor are the most and most cruelly affected.
As around the globe, in China it is becoming clear, as Pope Francis has preached in words and example that the resolve to live differently should affect our various contributions to shaping the culture and society in which we live.
We understand that political, social, scientific, academic and business leaders must stop thinking of short-term gains and work for the common good. And as we know, in China as in the rest of the world this conversion is neither easy nor fast, but a process that demands the involvement of all.