Monday, August 1, 2011

Eco-socialism and 'Ecological Civilization' in China

By Ariel Salleh
Capitalism Nature Socialism
2008, Vol. 19, No. 3, 122-128.

On the weekend of 16-18 May 2008, Shandong University in Jinan - capital of the province just south of Beijing, hosted an International Conference on Environmental Politics. The university is one of the oldest in modern China and has three lush green city campuses. The dynamo behind the event was Professor Qingzhi Huan with strong support from university president Prof Tao Zhan and an enthusiastic postgrad team.

It opened with formalities from Prof Mouchang Yu of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Quanxin Zhang, Vice-Director of the Shandong Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and Yaoxian Wang, former Director of the Ministry of Environmental Protection. Speakers from far a field included Indian born activist Saral Sarkar from Cologne - author of Eco-socialism or eco-capitalism?;1 political philosopher John Barry from Queens University, Belfast; environmental sociologists Seajae Lee, Jaemook Park, and Do-Wan Ku from Korea; Masatsugu Maruyama from Japan, and myself from the University of Sydney.

The two day forum was loosely organised under three heads: Eco-socialism and Environmental Political Theories; International Comparison on Red-Green Movement and Practice; Eco-socialism and Constructing Socialist Ecological Civilization in China. Cutting across this were substantive themes at several levels of generality. The international relations focus showcased work on environmental diplomacy, UN governance mechanisms, and the role of the GEF. At a national level the focus was consumerism and the logic of capital, impacts of China's growth economy, environmental rights, the state and civil society in disaster management.

Regional case studies covered environmentalism in India, water, subsistence agriculture, Korean oil spills, and moves towards energy saving. Finally, there were critical theoretical papers on O'Connor's ecoMarxism, alternative communities, the gendered ecological footprint, and the concept of "ecological civilization."

Read more HERE.

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