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Alpine meadows disappear under opencast mines in northwest China

Chinese coal companies have been illegally digging up alpine meadows, according to a Greenpeace investigation, damaging a fragile ecology and exacerbating water scarcity

A giant coal mine near the Qilian mountains in northwest China is illegally encroaching on a nature reserve at the source of the Yellow River, according to a Greenpeace investigation.

“This huge coal mine dug into the birthplace of China’s mother river is arguably the most shocking example of the threat coal poses to the country’s water supply,” says Greenpeace East Asia climate and energy campaigner Li Shuo.

“China’s growing hunger for coal is not only fuelling the cycle of air pollution crises plaguing the country’s largest cities, it’s also using up enormous amounts of water, threatening whole regions with water shortages and desertification.

“The Beijing authorities have shown a strong determination in tackling the smog emergency triggered by coal fumes - now they need to display the same resolve in protecting the country’s water reserves from this destructive industry.”

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匿名 | Anonymous



What is development?

In the eyes of many Chinese, development simply refers to rising income level, but this interpretation is just too narrow-minded.

Development encompasses many aspects, such as whether well-functioning education and medical systems are accessible to the public. More importantly, it is a state of sustainability. It is not a GDP indicator which is always assumed to be the higher the better, development is a steady state.

At the moment, mineral resources in Qinghai province are being exploited for economic rents. But how long will this economic benefit last? Once national resources are depleted, how will Qinghai develop? I do not reckon that the incumbent policy-makers will take this into their account.

The kind of policy that uses limited natural resources as the sole driver for growth is wrong. This is because the opportunity costs of mining and quarrying in an area whereby ecological status tends to be very susceptible to external forces will be very high. If an assessment of the current policy is carried out, the result of a cost benefit analysis would surely be pessimistic particularly in the medium-long run.

All of this is made worse by the fact that there lacks an establishment of the rule of law in China. This poses the question as to the proportion of the economic rents that would genuinely go to households' pockets. In this case, does the society really develop? Or to be more specific, are we more satisfied with our way of living?

There is an idiom that says 'Money does not buy you happiness'. We were always given the impression that development means getting richer and stable. Even if development is measured by pure income, the result is not necessarily as we have expected. Inner Mongolia is a very good example.

All in all, mining on its own will not generate development. There is the urgent need for us to figure out why this way of development has long been approved or even promoted.

At the end of the day, we could only act sustainably if we are being guided in a way that helps us to understand the concept of economic development.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous


一个为了自身短期利益的政党 怎么会为人民着想?捞够了就移民退休了 管你喝什么水吸什么空气

Everything is for profit

How can a political party concerned with its own short-term profit think about the general populace? Once they earn enough money, they move to other countries. They don't care about the quality of water people drink and the air people breathe.