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China Voice: Chinese must make "U-turns" for greener lifestyle

English.news.cn   2014-07-12 14:44:37

By Xinhua writer Wang Jian

GUIYANG, July 12 (Xinhua) -- The grand 2014 Eco Forum Global Annual Conference will close in Guiyang on Saturday, but many Chinese have barely taken their first step to pursue a greener lifestyle.

It is inspiring to see Chinese Premier Li Keqiang emphasize, in his congratulatory letter to the event, the common responsibility borne by the government, enterprises and the public in pushing reforms to aid the green drive.

The top-down governmental approach to saving energy and cutting pollution will not be enough to ensure a fundamental change of the growth model if the country's 1.3 billion people cannot be fully mobilized to embrace a green way of living.

To mobilize the public, however, a spiritual journey is necessary, as inner motivation is much more effective than external incentives.

Along the journey, Chinese people need to make at least two U-turns before they can be serious about sustainable development.

The first U-turn requires a re-examination of consumerism. China is undergoing a major structural transformation from an export-driven economy to a consumer-led economy.

That is to say, Chinese consumers are going to play an increasingly big role in the country's future economic landscape. At this moment, China should beware fostering a mass culture of consumerism.

Consumerism advocates rampant consumption of material wealth and natural resources, and encourages people to equate personal happiness with purchase of material possessions. If the Chinese do not rein in their craze for material well-being, their desires will undoubtedly increase the burden on nature and aggravate environmental problems.

At a time when natural resources are decreasing drastically and some are even on the verge of exhaustion, collective worship of consumerism will damage future generations and the world.

The second U-turn involves frugality. The Chinese leadership launched a massive anti-extravagance campaign in late 2012, promoting a frugal lifestyle nationwide and upholding the Chinese tradition of "being diligent and thrifty."

What average Chinese need to do is readjust their attitudes toward the natural environment, learn to be humble and curtail their egos.

Most importantly, they must remember the wisdom of ancient Chinese culture on this journey. Great Chinese thinkers in ancient times taught that man and nature are one, thus, man should respect the laws of nature.

Moreover, the concept of ecological civilization should not only inform policy making, but also the contemporary culture shared by all Chinese. Only in this way can China go far in its pursuit of sustainable development.

In the long run, a green lifestyle for the general public in China would be the real game changer for the country's endeavors in fixing pollution and promoting sustainable growth. (To stay up to date with the latest China news, follow XHNews on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/XHNews and Xinhua News Agency on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/XinhuaNewsAgency.)

Related:

China Focus: Int'l eco forum seeks greener growth

GUIYANG, July 11 (Xinhua) -- An international forum on environmental protection opened on Friday in Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou Province, aimed at seeking concerted global efforts on greener growth.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in a congratulatory letter to the Eco Forum Global Annual Conference Guiyang 2014 that China, together with other countries and international groups, will strengthen cooperation in environmental protection and work to fulfill international environmental protection conventions. Full story

Int'l eco forum opens in SW China

GUIYANG, July 11 (Xinhua) -- An international forum on environmental protection opened on Friday in Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou Province.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in a congratulatory letter to the Eco Forum Global Annual Conference Guiyang 2014 that China, together with other countries and international groups, will strengthen cooperation in environmental protection and work to fulfill international environmental protection conventions. Full story

Editor: Xiang Bo
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