Sunday, March 18, 2007

Ecolocial civilization

China's emergence as a global economic force means that everything that say, do and think will have significantly impact the entire world. According to The National Intelligence Council, it will be the world's second largest economy by 2025 (India will have grown to the fourth largest). It's interesting to note how many western observers have commented how devastating it will be should China choose a development strategy similar to the one that propelled the United States into economic dominance.

Based on the following commentary by China's
deputy director of the State Environmental Protection Administration, government officials acknowledge China's opportunities and responsibilities in the evolving new world order. His articulation of an ecological civilization as the ultimate goal of sustainable development is, at the very least, an encouraging sign that such a vision exists. (GW)

Scientific concept of development and ecological civilization

By Pan Yue
People's Daily Online
March 13, 2007

China has made great achievements in the process of reform and opening up.

However, in just 20 years, it has experienced the environmental problems that occurred in developed countries over 100 years. The traditional mode of economic development is seriously restricting China's present and future development. Here and now, the CPC General Secretary Hu Jintao emphasizes overall economic and social development according to a scientific concept. However, many people believe that the scientific concept of development simply refers to a different mode of economic development. Some regard the development of a resource-saving and environmental-friendly society as a technical issue. These are one-dimensional views. Followers of the scientific concept of development seek overall changes in politics, economics, society and culture and the sustainable development of the entire community, including the existing ideology and social system. For the whole of society to accept the scientific concept of development,China needs to promote a new civilization, an ecological civilization.

An ecological civilization refers to one that obtains materials and spiritual wealth by following the objective principle of the harmonious development of humankind, nature and society. It is a cultural philosophy governing the relations between mankind and nature, mankind and mankind, mankind and society. The fundamental purpose of an ecological civilization is to coexist in harmony, to achieve rounded development and the sustainable prosperity of all. As the Communist Party of China concluded for China, the scientific concept of development is in keeping with the trend of the transformation of human social civilization, and will promote the development of an ecological civilization.

An ecological civilization reflects the basic principles of socialism. Firstly, a socialist ecological civilization is people-centered and opposes anthropocentrism and eocentrism. Anthropocentrism creates a serious crisis in human existence. In eeocentrism, human society must stop all activities that reform nature. In an ecological civilization, human beings are at the core, but not the rulers of nature. Harmony between man and nature must be promoted in the comprehensive development of mankind. In addition, an ecological civilization adheres to the same principle of modern socialism in terms of achieving fair and sustainable development.

Ecological civilization provides a platform for the integration of socialist theory. As an improvement on industrial civilization, ecological civilization represents a more senior civilization; as superior to capitalism, socialism represents a better idea of a harmonious society. The internal consistency of the two makes them complimentary to each other, promoting each other's development. In short, socialism provides a system that protects the realization of an ecological civilization.

Some capitalist countries only endeavor to achieve the harmony between man and nature in their own countries, but do not take responsibility for the global environment. A socialist ecological civilization, as an integration of socialism and ecological civilization, demonstrates the nature of socialism.

Ecological civilizations should serve as the foundation of socialist civilizations. None of the socialist material civilizations, political civilizations and spiritual civilizations can be independent of an ecological civilization. With no good ecological conditions, people can not enjoy high grade materials, carry out political activities or obtain spiritual enlightenment. With no ecological security, the human race will be caught in an irreversible ecological crisis. An ecological civilization is the basis of a material civilization, political civilization and spiritual civilization.

Indeed, an ecological civilization also provides feasible solutions for socialist China to solve global problems such as the environmental crisis and social justice. With the rapid development of productive forces, the study of socialism is no longer limited to class relations based on industrial civilizations and the development of productive forces. Studies on cultural ethics dealing with the relationship between mankind and the nature are now essential. This is where the importance of an ecological civilization lies.

As far as China is concerned, the concept of ecological harmony is rooted in traditional Chinese culture, which means it has a solid philosophical foundation for the development of an ecological civilization. Today, the Communist Party of China has put forward a series of scientific development concepts, which aim to build a harmonious socialist and environmentally-friendly society. These concepts include the lessons drawn from ecological socialist theory, the sustainable development of the world, and traditional Chinese culture. The integration of these is bound to contribute to the development of a socialist ecological civilization with Chinese characteristics, while help rejuvenate the Chinese nation, sustainable development worldwide, and to the all-round development and harmony of humankind. In this regard, China has a responsibility it cannot shirk from.

(The author, Pan Yue, is deputy director of the State Environmental Protection Administration)


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