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China’s Development and its Quest to Control Nature   [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2013-3-18 20:06:08 |Display all floors
This post was edited by ttt222 at 2013-3-18 20:06

Since the beginning of Chinese civilization, emperors have sought the elixir for immortality throughout the dynasties. Right up to the 1950s, Mao maintained that humans can control nature. From the extensive terracing in ancient times, to today’s growth accelerant-laced vegetables, the Chinese are not content to let nature take its course. This quest to control nature arguably made ancient China a great civilization, and at the same time, has allowed China to develop at breakneck speed today. But the effects of interfering with the natural order are becoming harder and harder to ignore. The latest “official” revelation in the form of PM2.5 air pollution data is yet another roadblock in China’s road to development. Can nature hold up if China’s development continues unchecked along the path of Mao’s dictum?

water pollution in China. todayonline.com



Cleaning up the Air
The unprecedented release of air quality data late last year gave a sobering identity to the nameless fog that shrouds much of China. Smog is being addressed at high levels as China seeks to defend her development model, but exactly what is on the cards is anyone’s guess. Car usage is widely seen by the public as the main culprit. Currently, only Beijing restricts vehicle ownership, so it seems probable that China is looking for less invasive measures to clean up vehicle emissions in a land newly overrun by car culture. So far, natural gas vehicles seems like the way to go. Already, compressed natural gas (CNG) taxi and bus fleets exist in cities like Chongqing. Ironically, passengers coming from the train station or airport must hail an additional taxi for their luggage, as CNG cylinders take up more than half the carboot, no doubt diminishing (or canceling out) the positive effects. Coal-burning is the main contributor to PM2.5 levels, so a large-scale adoption of alternative energy sources also seems likely in the near future. The Three Gorges may be China’s most well-known (or notorious) hydro-energy source, but work is underway to construct 13 dams along the course of the Salween River in Tibet. As no silver bullet exists for China’s air pollution problem, in the interim, expect a lot more rain over the middle kingdom should silver nitrate rockets be fired as a stopgap.

Greening up the land – reforestation
Creating more greenspace is another way of creating fresher air while prettifying the concrete jungle. Well, kind of a reverse nature control—helping her to do what she originally intended to do. To move things along, China spends billions each year on reversing desertification, which takes the rap for sandstorms in Beijing. Through large-scale reforestation, China is able to restore land tracts larger than Switzerland each year, according to a 2012 Aljazeera report. With the help of the Asian Development Bank, provincial governments in areas like Gansu are also receiving assistance in controlling and preventing further desertification. While reversing desertification is no doubt a good thing for China, many of the actual methods being employed to “green” the land have garnered their fair share controversy in recent years, with experts critical of the potential long term effects of enclosing large areas of reforested land to keep herbivores out, exploding sand dunes and raining down seeds from the air.

Feeding the millions – increasing crop yields
The Incas may have invented terracing, but the Asians have taken it to new heights. Rice is a land-intensive and water-consuming crop. To feed the growing appetite for rice, mountains in China have had their slopes intricately terraced since the Yuan dynasty. More recently, to meet the increasing demands of the rapidly expanding population for consumption, more high-tech farming methods have been employed, such as growth accelerants in vegetables (as in the exploding watermelon scandal) and clenbuterol in pork (to enhance its low-fat appearance). Unsurprisingly, genetically modified (GM) tomatoes, soyabeans and corn, which are already present in the Chinese food chain (like in many other parts of the world), have become the subject of public backlash, most notably in the recent scandal where schoolchildren were fed GM rice without their parents’ consent. And now that China’s astro-might is confirmed, following the successful launch of the Tiangong-1 Spacelab, the Chinese are letting their seeds take a spin in space, as they believe that high levels of cosmic radiation in a gravity-free environment may spark benificial genetic mutations. More than 400 seed varieties have already been to space in recoverable satellites and aboard spaceships. Although this process is time-consuming, as achieving the desired genetic mutation is not guaranteed, the aim is to reduce reliance on seed imports, which accounts for about half the seeds grown in China.

Lap it up – dealing with water shortages
Now that we’ve (hopefully) settled the problem of what to eat, next up is having enough water to drink. Development unfortunately consumes a lot of water and industrial waste pumped into China’s water bodies renders about 70% of the current supply undrinkable, according to a 2008 report by economist and health policy researcher Avraham Y. Ebenstein. To avoid further development being constrained by water supply, China is pumping up the water supply the high-tech way. Economics 101 may dictate raising unsustainably low water prices to regulate demand but the Chinese prefer to do it in style by turning to large-scale seawater desalination. However, this billion-dollar solution has yet to catch on, as higher-priced desalinated water turns buyers off while environmentalists deride the coal-burning which powers desalination plants and the effect on marine ecosystems. Perhaps it is time to look to the next desperate measure: the South-to-North Water Diversion Scheme, an ambitious plan of piping water from the Tibetan highlands to the thirsty north. Coincidentally, the inspiration for this plan came from none other than Mao himself who once said, "Southern water is plentiful, northern water scarce. If at all possible, borrowing some water would be good.”


Source: echinacities.com

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Post time 2013-3-18 23:16:32 |Display all floors
  1. Feeding the millions – increasing crop yields
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No.
Half of the food produced in the world is wasted, yes, go directly to the garbage can.
No need to increasing crop yelds.
Just stop wasting.
No more destroy environment.
Problem is not how much we produce, problem is how we consumme.

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Post time 2013-3-19 00:03:21 |Display all floors
This post was edited by Eudaimonia at 2013-3-19 00:04

I hate to defend (even in the slightest) China on a polution issue because along with the U.S. they're the worst on this and they're destroying the environment for all of us (not only for themselves) since we're all on the same planet.

BUT if i remember correctly that picture that you have in the center of your text wasn't polution related, it was just a very rare natural phenomenon.

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Post time 2013-3-19 02:11:58 |Display all floors
Eudaimonia Post time: 2013-3-19 00:03
I hate to defend (even in the slightest) China on a polution issue because along with the U.S. they' ...
[...], it was just a very rare natural phenomenon.


A form of Algae bloom maybe?
您买象牙 - 您杀了大象!
http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNjU1Nzg0NDky.html - “用现代文明标准比划中国人,是严重的种族歧视行为。”
„Ich ficke wo, wen, und wann ich will, hast du mich verstanden. Auch du könntest ficken, aber du kannst es ja gar nicht, deine deutsche Genauigkeit... verbietet es dir“. Jean-Claude Juncker

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Post time 2013-3-19 02:31:37 |Display all floors
LCSULLA Post time: 2013-3-19 02:11
A form of Algae bloom maybe?

Yeah, you got it right... i forgot what it was called.

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Post time 2013-3-19 07:20:03 |Display all floors
Eudaimonia Post time: 2013-3-19 02:31
Yeah, you got it right... i forgot what it was called.

Well,
then I really don't think it is that rare.
Maybe for you being used to seawaters.
But I used to see it once every year happening to the lake sourrounding the castle of my teenage years.
Condition of the water matters, that is, pollution of some sorts can contribute to it,
but it can just as well happen in natural condition waters in some variations.
您买象牙 - 您杀了大象!
http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNjU1Nzg0NDky.html - “用现代文明标准比划中国人,是严重的种族歧视行为。”
„Ich ficke wo, wen, und wann ich will, hast du mich verstanden. Auch du könntest ficken, aber du kannst es ja gar nicht, deine deutsche Genauigkeit... verbietet es dir“. Jean-Claude Juncker

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Post time 2013-3-19 09:55:48 |Display all floors
Do not destroy the nature, then we'll be OK. Isupport #2's post. No more wastes.

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