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Welcome to our Enviornment: General Concepts and a Quickie on Chinese Geography and History

Welcome to our Enviornment: General Concepts and a Quickie on Chinese Geography and History

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Welcome to our Enviornment: General Concepts and a Quickie on Chinese Geography and History

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  1. Welcome to our Enviornment:General Concepts and a Quickie on Chinese Geography and History China’s Environment: Growth, Resources, Politics Stevan Harrell Creative Retirement Institute November 2013

  2. The basic equation: I = P*A*T Impact = Population x Affluence x Technology What will be the impact on China’s enviroment for the next 50 years? Population will increase slightly, level off, and perhaps decline slightly Affluence is bound to increase Technology has room for improvement

  3. Discounting • The present is more important than the future • The present is more certain than the future • Therefore, a thing now is worth more than a thing in the future • This is why we pay (receive) interest • This is why we eat too much ice cream today and worry about the scales tomorrow • This is why people harm the environment

  4. The beginning of the anthropocene?

  5. Sustainability: A Buzzword • Robert Solow: “It is very hard to be against sustainability. In fact, the less you know about it, the better it sounds. The questions that come to be connected with sustainable development or sustainable growth or just sustainability are genuine and deeply felt and very complex. The combination of deep feeling and complexity breeds buzzwords.”

  6. Sustainability Some Current Definitions • OED: “Of, relating to, or designating forms of human economic activity and culture that do not lead to environmental degradation, esp. avoiding the long-term depletion of natural resources.” Notice: “environmental degradation,” “long-term depletion of natural resources.” What sustainable is not,apophatic theology. • Brundtland Report, Sustainable development; “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” • Solow: sustainability is “An obligation to conduct ourselves so that we leave to the future the option or the capacity to be as well off as we are.” Grø Harlem Brundtland Robert Solow

  7. China in Relief

  8. China Precipitation

  9. China: Agricultural Regions

  10. China: Languages Note the extent of yellow and green, which are all “Chinese”

  11. Incredibly Cool Tool http://www.dbresearch.com/servlet/reweb2.ReWEB?rwsite=DBR_INTERNET_EN-PROD&rwobj=RMLCHPM.alias

  12. Population in the Qing Dynasty, 1644-1911

  13. Deforestation 1700-1937 % of Forest lost, 1700-1937 < 25% 25-50% 50-75% >75% Ling Daxie, Changes in Our Country’s Forest Resources, 1983

  14. Deforestation, 1750-1950 Deforestation and Erosion Deforestation and soil loss, 1750-1950 [Work in progress, Very partial lists]

  15. Increased water disasters Floods and Droughts in the Wei River Valley (deforested early)

  16. The ecology of the Chinese peasant household Buffers Infrastructure Institutions Values Eco. buffers Affines’ Village Cooperation Fuel, Wild foods, Ecosystem services Construction materials Village House Sales, Rents, Taxes Town Cooperation Forest and Pasture Purchases Water Food, Fiber Fertilizer Water Fields Household’s Own Field Flows of Household Goods and Services Solid arrows are private goods Dashed arrows are common pool goods Importance of flows is roughly proportional to weights of arrows.

  17. Agricultural growth and the ecology of the Chinese peasant household. Affines’ Village Cooperation Fuel, Wild foods, Ecosystem services Construction materials Village House Sales, Rents, Taxes Town Cooperation Purchases Water Food, Fiber Fertilizer Water Forest and Pasture Fields Household’s Own Field Changes in Flows of Household Goods and Services Solid arrows are private goods Dashed arrows are common pool goods Importance of flows is roughly proportional to weights of arrows. Green arrows represent increased flows Red arrows represent decreased flows

  18. Communist Developmentalism: Humans separate from nature 人定胜天: Humanity is destined to conquer nature 与天斗,与地斗,与人斗,其乐无穷:There is boundless joy in fighting with heaven, fighting with earth, fighting with people

  19. Communist Developmentalism:Limitless Resources • 人多力量大 With more people, our strength is greater • 人有多大但,地有多大產 Theproductivityofthelandisasgreatasthecourageofthepeople(目前為止比較合適的翻譯!)

  20. Communist Developmentalism: Worship of “Science” • The natural world can be engineered • Production can be maximized by labor (Marx, Engels) • Peasants and minorities are illiterate, ignorant of science, backward, and superstitious, and need the help of advanced people to transform their lives

  21. Acceleration in the Reform Period? Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Prc1952-2005gdp.gif