Zhou Jinfeng’s Keynote at the China (Hainan) First Mine Ecological Restoration and Sustainable Development Seminar

From September 5th to 6th, organized by the International Leisure Agriculture Federation, co-organized by China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF), undertaken by Haiken Tourism Group, and supported by Hainan Provincial Department of Tourism, Culture, Radio, Television and Sports, Hainan Provincial Forestry Bureau, Hainan Provincial Department of Ecological Environment, and Danzhou Municipal Committee Government, the “2020 National First Mining Ecological Restoration and Sustainable Development Seminar” was held. Dr. Zhou Jinfeng, Secretary-General of CBCGDF was invited to deliver a keynote speech at the meeting.

Dr. Zhou combined with the experience of joint discussing the preparing for the establishment of the International Tourism College with Hainan University and related leaders of Arizona State University, and the story of carrying out scientific research on biodiversity in the South China Sea region, expounded the value of developing eco-tourism to the South China Sea. In addition, he focused on the opportunities and challenges faced by Hainan’s tourism and ecological civilization construction in the context of the recent development of China.

Dr. Zhou pointed out that many people go overseas, such as Maldives, Fiji and other places to travel and consume, but in fact, Hainan, such as Lianhua Mountain, such domestic tourism is more valuable. In the future, due to the epidemic and the international situation, as well as the adjustment of China’s development strategy, “greater circulation” is bound to become a very important work direction, and it is also the direction should be advocated. This is also a great opportunity for Hainan. Zhou said that experts at the meeting have given many good comments on the projects discussed at this meeting. Taking this opportunity to focus on the topic of ecological restoration of mines to do some theoretical discussions and practical analysis.

“From our professional point of view and the actual cases we have encountered, most of the time ecological restoration has some problems in China. Therefore, a leader just said that it is necessary to strengthen mine restoration technology. I very much agree that ecological restoration is an issue. Although there are some problems, ecological civilization as a guiding ideology can be fully applied to the ecological restoration and sustainable development of mines.”

Dr. Zhou’s report is divided into four parts: one is to adhere to the idea of ecological civilization, the other is ecological pollution control, and the third is mine restoration. This part has two contents, namely pollution control and ecological restoration, and the fourth is the concept of sustainable development.

Adhere to the guidance of ecological civilization

Human history has experienced four changes in civilization, from primitive civilization, agricultural civilization, industrial civilization to ecological civilization. The current ecological problem is not an individual problem, it is the problem of the unsustainable growth mode of industrial civilization, and the overall ecological pollution and destruction. This problem has reached a very extreme level, to the point where mankind must enter the era of ecological civilization in order to seek future development.

“Take mine restoration as an example. We must adjust the development model of industrial civilization to the state of ecological civilization from the ecology and fundamentally. This is what must be done.” Dr. Zhou said.

“The earth has experienced five mass extinctions. Dinosaurs went extinct on the fifth time. We sympathize with dinosaurs. However, in fact, humans may not have a better chance than dinosaurs on earth, because the sixth mass extinction has already come, the root lies in human beings.” Dr. Zhou also mentioned in the keynote speech.

Many people have heard the story of Easter Island. Once, due to excessive demand from the residents of the island, in the end, only some huge stone statues were left on the island to “witness” the glorious civilization there. Dr. Zhou also introduced that all mankind is now retaking the road to Easter Island, even faster than the humans on the island at that time. But this time, what mankind left on the earth were not stone statues, but plastic garbage and reinforced concrete.

Mankind currently faces three major crises. The first is the crisis of biodiversity, but many people take a one-sided understanding of “biodiversity” for species diversity, such as monkeys and giant pandas. In fact, this is partial. In fact, there are three levels of biodiversity, one is genetic resource diversity, the other is species diversity, and the third is ecosystem diversity. The others are climate change crisis and public health crisis, these are insurmountable obstacles brought by industrial civilization to mankind.

In the Montreal Convention, scientists discovered the ozone hole in the South Pole of the earth. Some top scientists called on the world to pay attention to this hazard, which promoted the birth of the Convention and began to restrict the production and use of fluoride. Because, if it does not change, the earth’s ozone will disappear quickly, and ultraviolet rays can wipe out all of our generation of humans. At that time, many leaders of industrial civilization were still frantically opposed, insisting that it would cause employment problems for tens of millions of people and problems in people’s lives. But the Montreal Convention still insists on changes. The problem of the ozone hole has been greatly resolved.

Regarding how to accurately understand the thought of ecological civilization, Dr. Zhou said, “This is a brand-new worldview and methodology. It is the entire view and cognition of the world by mankind. The current working methods of mankind should be changed accordingly.”

Three axioms, four principles

Mine restoration includes two concepts, one is pollution control and the other is ecological restoration.

In terms of pollution control, Dr. Zhou put forward the “three axioms” that must be adhered to, but in the current ecological restoration, few projects have paid attention to these three aspects. “The first is the non-proliferation axiom. When the project is repaired, the pollution must first be prevented from spreading. This is the most basic principle.

The second axiom is called ‘do no harm’. For example, water pollution control, oil spills in oil pipelines in Shaanxi, how to control groundwater? Some companies have proposed to pump out the water, filter, dosing, and put it back after it is cleaned. This is obviously not in line with pollution control. I think that the problem should be solved by providing the villagers with qualified drinking water, because the pollution control of groundwater is very difficult. It seems reasonable and correct to extract, purify and recycle it, but it actually consumes a lot of manpower and material resources, does not conform to the basic principle of non-harm.

The third axiom is to be fully publicized. Related companies’ products should be publicized, including their dosage and content. This is what we propose to fully publicize. This will not cause unnecessary disputes and reassure the public. As long as it is clear to everyone, so that everyone can understand and treat the existing problems dialectically.

Four major principles of ecological restoration. The first principle is the principle of economy. We must also adhere to the principle of economy in mine restoration. For example, in some places, it is mandatory to treat sewage into first or second grade water. In fact, this is not completely reasonable. In some places, rivers and lakes have natural peculiarities, and this requirement destroys the original ecology. And the huge cost paid for this also violates the principle of economy.

The second principle is the principle of nature. Some platforms call on the public to plant trees on a large scale in the desert. Although local plants are planted, large-scale planting results in excessive use of groundwater, which has a significant impact on the entire downstream. There are also projects such as Beidaihe Geziwo, Beijing Nanyuan Wetland Park, and the Huaihe River Treatment Project in Yuanshi County, Hebei, which also have the same problem.

The third principle is the limited principle. Governance is limited, not excessive, and must be combined with actual conditions.

The fourth principle is the macro principle. In Zhuonai Lake, we have discovered through satellite images for more than 20 years that Zhuonai Lake has been decertified on a large scale, causing sandstorms. How to deal with this problem? There are two sides of suggestions: One is that man will conquer nature, and the other is to let nature take its course. I think neither is right. We must put lucid waters and lush mountains in the first place, and then give full play to human power and change under natural conditions. This should also be the basic core point of view that should be adhered to in mine restoration.”

Dr. Zhou also combined the history of CBCGDF’s successful promotion of the return of the Milu deer, and the formulation of a series of standards in the field of biodiversity: “The ecology of a place does not depend on how green it is and how much grass it grows. In this way, the local ecological situation can be assessed, and the technical department can be recommended to study it.”

Regarding mine restoration and tourism, Dr. Zhou said: In March 2020, relevant state departments announced the first batch of “National Forest Health and Rehabilitation Bases” list, and the CBCGDF also sent a special letter and put forward relevant suggestions. In adhering to the idea of ecological civilization, it also includes many details. It is necessary to protect forests, protect biodiversity, and fully publicize the risks in forests.

“Nature tourism has a great contribution and effect to human physical and mental health. Exploring nature and returning to nature is a very important lesson for mankind, just like human migration. Therefore, going to the forest and going to nature should be positive advocated, but we need to be aware of these risks and let people know what to pay attention to and how to do it.

We support Hainan’s tourism to the whole country and to the world. Therefore, it is extremely important to do a good job in the ecological restoration of mines. We hope that in this process, we can provide some technical support to the local area to truly meet the requirements of ecological civilization. These abandoned mines are also part of the most precious habitat for mankind. We should also do a good job of restoring them under the guidance of ecological civilization thoughts. Thank you everyone.”

(This article is organized based on recordings and has not been reviewed by speaker himself.)

(Photo credit: CBCGDF)

Original Chinese article:


By / Stan Modified / Maggie






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