Nowadays, China is increasingly blamed for polluting environment, for which they should be blamed. When I was in the middle school, I had an article published in a local newspaper expressing my sadness seeing a local river polluted in a mere few years.
But this article is intended to bring this environment issue to a deeper level. The environmental issue is really not just environmental issue. Its root cause is very deep in people’s mind, the way people perceive their relation with the outside world. For mediators, this is very easy to understand and I guess many have already realized so.
Traditional Chinese culture emphasizes the harmony between human being and the nature. We say human and the nature as one. If you study Chinese tea culture, you will have a very deep impression of this. So when western countries first opened China’s door with far more advanced weapons, Chinese hesitated whether to adopt fully the western way, which we deem very aggressive towards the nature. But we then got beaten badly for 100 years. It is a century of complete humiliation. Thus we say we learned a lesson: you will get beaten if you fall behind. So we learned that we need to develop ourselves, and development is the top priority. So we learn from the west, starting to conquer the nature.
It is only ironic that now many people in the west start to accuse China of polluting without the knowledge of the huge culture transition happening behind and without realizing that environment issue is actually an issue that is very deep inside.
As I welcome China to put more attention on the environmental impact of its development and go back to its traditional emphasis on harmony with the nature, I am also worried that China hasn’t fully learned from the west yet, and China hasn’t fully accumulated the experiences of development yet. But the world cannot afford another big country living the same kind of life style that Americans take for granted. The world is a mistake and you have to work with imperfection.
Thought of providing a new perspective here.