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New research on the relevance of culture and religion for understanding China’s environmental crisis and its transition towards sustainability has just been published in a collection of essays entitled Religion and Ecological Sustainability in China (Routledge 2014). The work, by leading scholars in the humanities and social sciences from China, Europe and North America, marks a milestone…

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Daoism: A Beginner's Guide (Farsi)

Quick! Picture China’s biggest environmental problem. I bet you saw in your mind the polluted skies of Beijing and its citizens wearing face masks as they go to work. The western news media have been filled with alarming stories of China’s poor air quality, especially in the north, where China relies more heavily on coal-fired power…

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Announcing a fantastic new resource for environmental philosophy, shortly to be published by SUNY press. There is a great section on China including new essays by scholars working on Daoism and Confucianism. Check out the publisher’s page here. Table of Contents Preface Introduction Section I: Environmental Philosophy in Indian Traditions of Thought 1. George Alfred James,…

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In June this year Ian Johnson published a major report in the New York Times on China’s plans to urbanize 250 million citizens over the next decade or so. This drive continues the decades-long story of China’s conversion from an 80 per cent rural society into an 80 per cent urban society, a migration that…

Read More religion, nature and urbanization among china’s ethnic minorities

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A recent news story on Reuters, headlined Thou Shalt Not Launch IPOs, China tells temples, reports that the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) has issued an injunction against temples listing on the stock exchange. SARA official Liu Wei is reported as staying: Such plans “violate the legitimate rights of religious circles, damage the image…

Read More the business of religion: buddhism, stock markets and the “authenticity” of religion

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For the past six months I’ve been working with Dan Smyer Yu from the Max Planck Institute for Religious and Ethnic Diversity on a conference which is finally taking place next week at Minzu University in Beijing. The title of the conference is Religious Diversity and Ecological Sustainability in China. Here’s the conference rationale that…

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Image from National Geographic

It’s been three weeks since the devastating tsunami in Japan, and I am still haunted by the familiar phrase from Daode jing ch. 8: Best to be like water, Which benefits the ten thousand things And does not contend. It pools where humans disdain to dwell, Close to the Tao. (Trans. Addis and Lombardo, Hackett:…

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The electronic prayer hall at Wong Tai Sin (photo: Sik Sik Yuen)

As China overtakes Japan to be recognized as the world’s second largest economy, it is inevitable that Chinese religions will undergo change and transformation. But since Marx infamously compared the social function of religion to that of a narcotic, religion has consistently been framed in the modern imagination as backwards, anti-modern, and anti-science. China’s modernizers,…

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http://www.youtube.com/v/YlOA_eO8IsQ&rel=0&fs=1

As the trailer for this new documentary from Mandarin Films makes clear, the global environmental crisis will be solved in China, not in America, for the simple reason that China has no other option. As I noted recently in my post on ecological civilization in China, there is a widespread recognition in China that the paradigm of industrial civilization must be changed so that China can bring economic development to its people without a correspondingly large increase in its ecological footprint.