Posts tagged ‘Friends of Nature’


Enforcing environmental rules: Saving fish and baring teeth | The Economist

ON TAKING over in February as China’s minister for environmental protection, Chen Jining said the country needed an environmental law that was “not a paper tiger” but rather a “sharp weapon with teeth of steel”. Early indications, among them the cancellation of a series of dam projects on the upper reaches of the Yangzi river, are that the former academic and university administrator intends to follow through on his fighting words.

State media have reported that the builders of the Yangzi’s Xiaonanhai dam—expected to cost 32 billion yuan ($5.1 billion) and to generate two gigawatts of electricity—were denied permission to continue because of the harm it would cause to a nature reserve that is the last remaining habitat for many species of rare fish. Work on its foundations began in 2012, but was halted while the environment ministry assessed the project. Two smaller dams on the same stretch of river were also rejected.

Activists in China welcomed the decision, saying it showed a new determination to enforce environmental rules. According to Ma Jin of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, a Chinese NGO in Beijing, the firms that applied to build the dams, led by the Three Gorges Project Corporation, had previously won permission for other dams that would endanger fish populations by arguing that the protected nature reserve near the Xiaonanhai project would guarantee their survival. That, he says, makes the project “particularly outrageous”.

via Enforcing environmental rules: Saving fish and baring teeth | The Economist.


* Author Sam Geall on China’s Green Awakening

BusinessWeek: “Most of the headlines about China’s environment involve victims and villains. On one side are the regular people suffering from exposure to toxic rivers and contaminated food; on the other, greedy factory owners and recalcitrant officials. Not visible in that black-and-white picture are China’s emerging ranks of environmental activists—some full-time nongovernmental organization workers and others simply volunteers responding ad hoc to threats to their health and livelihood. China’s first environmental NGO, Friends of Nature, was allowed to legally register in 1994, and since then thousands more have followed in its footsteps.

The Tiger Leaping Gorge on the road from Lijiang to the logging town of Zhongdian, in northwestern Yunnan province, China

A new book edited by Oxford University lecturer Sam Geall, China and the Environment: The Green Revolution, traces the evolution of green activism in China. Geall is also executive editor of the online magazine In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, he shared his perspective on civil society in an authoritarian country—and how technology changes the picture.

Who are China’s environmentalists? How would you characterize today’s green advocates?

Journalists and broadcasters founded many of China’s most prominent green NGOs—after all, they witnessed the scale of the unfolding environmental crisis. China actually has a long history of civil society, which was suppressed during the Mao era. But the past 20 years have seen a flourishing of green NGOs. Now there are thousands registered, and many more unregistered. Today all sorts of people get involved in China’s environmental campaigns, from university students and middle-class urban residents protesting against the construction of polluting petrochemical factories or incinerators, to villagers in the countryside angry about pollution ruining their crops and their health.”

via Q&A: Author Sam Geall on China’s Green Awakening – Businessweek.

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