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China’s huge environmental challenges are significant for usall. They affect not only the health and well-being of China butthe very future of the planet.
In this trailblazing book, noted China specialist andenvironmentalist Judith Shapiro investigates China’s struggleto achieve sustainable development against a backdrop of acuterural poverty and soaring middle class consumption. Using five coreanalytical concepts to explore the complexities of this struggle -the implications of globalization, the challenges of governance;contested national identity, the evolution of civil society andproblems of environmental justice and equity - Shapiro poses anumber of pressing questions: Do the Chinese people have the rightto the higher living standards enjoyed in the developed world? AreChina's environmental problems so severe that they may shake thegovernment's stability, legitimacy and control? To what extent areChina’s environmental problems due to patterns of Westernconsumption? And in a world of increasing limits on resources andpollution "sinks," is it even possible to build an equitable systemin which people enjoy equal access to resources without taking themfrom successive generations, from the poor, or from other species?
China and the planet are at a pivotal moment; the path towards amore sustainable development model is still open. But - as Shapiropersuasively argues - making this choice will require humility,creativity, and a rejection of business as usual. The window ofopportunity will not be open much longer.
Chapter 1 - 'The Big Picture' - is availableonline.