The struggle for sustainability in rural China
Evidence from scholarly material has shown that there is an assumption on issues concerning the environment in rural China. These stereotypic opinions have been largely generated by the general public as well as the aforementioned scholars. The first assumption being that the Chinese people do not care about their environment as they are more concerned about their economic development. Secondly, it is assumed that even if the people cared about the environment and were concerned about the pollution, there is little they could do to stop it because the central government has put more emphasis on economic development than on environmental pollution. The paper addresses these two issues, discussing whether the people of china do really care about the environment or not. In addition it will seek to unveil the circumstances as well as the position of the people in terms of the role they could play in order to ensure that pollution is combated. The paper focuses on arguments forwarded by Bryan Tilt , in his effort to discern the nature and struggle of the lives of the rural Chinese people and their disconcerted efforts towards environmental conservation amidst huge challenges faced such as a massive and powerful government that leans over and focuses on the economic development of the country. The paper considers these two antagonistic factors that the rural Chinese people face in their day to day lives. They are faced with many mind boggling questions as the choices considered come with consequences. For instance, certain pollution control procedures lead to the closure of companies as well as factories, which ultimately may lead to the already inadequate employment opportunities. Such a challenge could make the people opt for choices that may harm the environment by allowing such companies to operate; as they offer a source of livelihood for the people. My goal in writing this paper is to find out the true position of the rural Chinese and their struggle for sustainability while enduring and combating pollution. Pollution refers to the introduction into a natural environment by contaminants. The pollution comes with the effect that it has harmful effects , causes disorder as well as harms the ecosystem in which the population lives in. china has become and industrial and economic power over the years. This has come with the pollution effect to the environment that is both massive and large scale. With this growth came the demands for energy. For instance Tilt propounds that the country required a lot of energy, most of which was outsourced from the country’s coal reserves (Tilt, 4). He notes that the locals are so involved in the mining process in the viewpoint of having an income that there is very little consideration for the environmental degradation caused by the mining process. The indiscriminate coal mining and disregard for the environmental pollution caused by the process leads the author to assume that the people do not care about the environment. In addition the dictatorial nature of the Chinese government inhibits the people’s response towards any environment changing policy that they may have. China, being a single party government as well as authoritarian in nature, then even the public opinion does not matter concerning any activities of the government that tend to be harmful to the environment. Additionally, the government is in competition economically with other world powers and hence puts to the forefront its economic policies at times disregarding the environmental effects caused by the new introductions of industrialization. There is also the problem of dismal scholar analysis on the Chinese environment. It is suggested that all that ever results are dismal statistics on the effect of the over 1.3 billion population (Tilt, 4). This consequently leads to ignored people opinion and in turn a forced government opinion on the people of China.
These changes in the rural Chinese environment have had an effect on the local’s welfare as well as their health. It can also be argued that the Chinese people lack the capital that is required to be invested in processes that protect the environment from harm and pollution. Additionally, there is the lack of proper institutions that champion environmental protection (Tilt 4). The lack of commitment by the government and the local authorities has been noted as a major barrier towards the protection of the environment against degradation by the industries, where the government feels that the economy of the country bears a greater importance than the protection of the environment. Consequently, there is much ignoring of the laws that protect the environment against hap hazard pollution. Despite of the existence of the various cultures that promoted the protection of the environment against degradation, the rise of the Cultural revolution has been cited as a major setback towards the care of the environment against pollution. From studies that have been carried out among the rural and the urban Chinese suggests that both the rural and urban people have a concern against the processes that lead to the degradation of the environment such as deforestation, air pollution as well as water pollution. But this comes along when the people are facing other critical issues such as unemployment, control of the public as well as population control. As such there is minimal or reduced concern for the environment (Tilt 7).
However, it was noted that the educated urban Chinese held high the necessity of environment preservation compared to the rural and uneducated people. The environmental degradation activities have come at a high price to the Chinese as it has led to change and aggregation of some of their cultural values. The author supposes that an in depth understanding of environmental values as well as the appreciation of the roles played by these values in the shaping of the behavior and actions of a population, would go a long way in helping to preserve the environment. The second supposition is that the authoritarian government has over time chosen economic gain over the environmental quality of the environment (Tilt, 8). Due to the communist nature of the country, most actions are undertaken by the civil society that runs the country. In this respect, the civil society has always turned a deaf ear to individual opinion on the environment. This plays out in the sense that most decisions made by the government are based on collective opinion. This has led to the knowledge that the problem of the Chinese environment degradation is more socio political. This means it is influenced more and more by the government rather than the opinion and ideas of the people who live in the affected areas. From international studies that have been conducted, it has become evident that public opinion has become essence in ensuring that the environment is protected and sustained. China has been noted as being a signatory of many international environmental policies that serve to protect the environment (Tilt, 10).
Tilt. B. The Struggle for Sustainability in Rural China. Environmental Values and Civil Society. New York . Columbia University Press. 1974