Harmonious coexistence between human and nature:

By Wu Shunze Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/17 19:01:09

Visitors feed gulls at the Haigeng Park in Kunming, southwest China's Yunnan Province, Feb. 11, 2003. Urban parks in China offer easy place for people to relax and unwind. Furthermore, China's urban parks feature more less-impact exercise equipment and ways to have fun for young and old. With the breeze blowing and boats floating in the parks, people enjoyed dancing, singing and folklore performance from 1950s to 1990s. Nowadays, people have more choices of activities in the parks, like the fashion show by the elderly locals and the low expense wedding ceremony for the young people. These typical scenes of China's urban parks not only mirror the changes of people's leisure life, but also show the social development in miniature, as China is building ecological civilization and promoting the harmonious coexistence between humans and nature. (Xinhua/Qin Qing)

Harmonious coexistence between human and nature is a basic principle of China's ecological civilization construction and a distinctive feature of China's vivid and effective practice. China has made the most intensive efforts in ecological conservation and pollution prevention and control in the world today. Compared with the same development stage of the world, the present stage of China is a historical period with the fastest improvement of ecological and environmental quality. In the process of modernization with the harmonious coexistence between human and nature, China has made historic achievements both in concept and in practice, proving that human and nature must and should be able to coexist harmoniously, and man and nature are a community of shared future.

Biodiversity is a valuable natural asset for human well-being. In biodiversity conservation, the most fundamental issue is to solve anthropogenic stressors and interference in the natural world, so as to put the theory that man is an integral part of nature into practice. Ecological civilization is a new requirement to realize the harmonious development between human and nature. To build ecological civilization, we must first make the transition from changing and conquering nature to adjusting people's behaviors and correcting our wrongs. China has included ecological civilization into the constitution and incorporated it into China's overall development plan, and has reformed and introduced the fundamental systems such as natural resources balance sheet (NRBS) and off-office auditing, main function zoning, ecological redlines, etc. China has enforced a total ban on illegal wildlife trade and has made effort to get rid of the bad habit of eating wildlife. The rise or fall of a civilization is closely tied to its relationship with nature. The thinking of overlooking and ignoring ecological environment has been fundamentally changed in the whole Chinese society, and the principle of harmonious coexistence between human and nature has been deeply rooted in the hearts of the people and has become the basic strategy for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.

China has constantly protected and restored natural ecology and environment, strengthened natural capital, established a target responsibility system with improving ecological and environmental quality as the core, developed innovative systems of assessment, inspection and accountability, and significantly raised the level of biodiversity conservation. Steady progress has been made in the construction of 25 pilot projects for ecological protection and restoration of mountains, rivers, forests, fields, lakes and grasslands, and 90% of the terrestrial ecosystems and 85% of the key wildlife populations have been effectively protected. Foreign media marveled at the "speed" and "rigidity" of China's air quality improvement. The New York Times commented that "China achieved the corresponding 30-year air quality improvement goal of the United States in just 4 years". From 2000 to 2017, China contributed the most to the world's new green space, accounting for about a quarter, according to a report in the British journal Nature Sustainability.

China is exploring a path of harmonious coexistence between human and nature, which is highly consistent with the goals and vision advocated by the Convention on Biological Diversity. China is also contributing its wisdom to the global ecological civilization and the co-construction of a community of life on the Earth. China has become an important participant, contributor and leader in global ecological civilization construction. China is the first country to issue the National Implementation Plan on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, has participated deeply in the process of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and has met the 2020 Aichi Targets on protected natural areas ahead of schedule. Kubuqi Desert has become the only desert that is treated as a whole in the present world, and has been designated as a global desert eco-economic demonstration area by the United Nations. The Saihanba Afforestation Community and the Project of "1,000 Villages in Demonstration and 10,000 Villages in Renovation" in Zhejiang Province (i.e. Zhejiang's Green Rural Revival Programme) have won the United Nations' Champions of the Earth successively. China aims to ensure its carbon dioxide emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060 by adopting more vigorous policies and measures. China will work with the international community to build a community of life on the Earth and a clean and beautiful world.

China has adhered to the concept of ecological civilization to guide its development, firmly established and practiced the concept that "Lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets", thoroughly implemented the new development concept, and resolved the issue of green transformation of development patterns and lifestyles. The fundamental significance of transformation lies in the extension from the harmonious coexistence of human and nature to the coordinated unification and promotion of ecological and environmental protection and economic development. China has worked in a coordinated way to promote both high-level ecological and environmental protection and high-quality economic development, and gradually explored and improved a new path of high-quality development that gives priority to ecology and guided by green development. Vivid cases of green development and transformation are emerging. 52 practice and innovation bases for implement the concept that "lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets" have been formed; the ownership of new energy vehicles accounts for half of the world's total; and the installed capacity of renewable energy accounts for 30% of the world's total, thus making China the largest producer and consumer of renewable energy.

Starting from the construction of ecological civilization, China has dealt with the relationship between human and nature, the relationship between environment and people's livelihood, the relationship between protection and development, as well as the relationship between China and foreign countries. China has protected ecology and environment in the development of economy, and developed economy in the protection of ecology and environment. China has been making efforts to explore the paradigm of ecological civilization development that is different from the mode of industrial civilization development, solve the contradiction brought about by industrial civilization, and build a beautiful home for all things in harmony. This is not only a new need of realizing the harmonious development of human and nature, but also a great practice to realize sustainable development of the world and human beings' all-round development.

The author is head of the Policy Research Center for Environment and Economy under China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment


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