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In today’s Christian Science Monitor, I published an op-ed piece that ties together some of the themes that I’ve been blogging about lately: Is democracy the best vehicle to ensure sustainable development? What is the Confucian view of the human person and its relationship to the environment? How is the Confucian renaissance in China changing…

Read More How Confucianism could curb global warming

On Sunday the New York Times published a report,  China Outpaces U.S. in Cleaner Coal-Fired Plants, which documented China’s transition to cleaner forms of energy. Although much of China’s energy needs are still met by inefficient coal-fired power stations with poor track records in terms of emissions, China has begun to invest heavily in cleaner coal technology…

Read More sustainable economic decisions

I have just finished teaching my undergraduate course on religion and the environment. Most of the students are in engineering or environmental science, and the course fulfills a humanities requirement for them. It’s been fascinating teaching scientists about religion, as you can imagine, but it’s also been hard. One of the most serious problems that…

Read More does environmental science lead to environmental action?

I’m teaching a course in religion and the environment this term, and my students are preparing to debate this very question: is democracy good for sustainability? By way of background, they have been reading Judith Shapiro’s book Mao’s War Against Nature, which forcefully details the way that Maoist ideology trumped scientific reason in charting China’s…

Read More is democracy good for sustainability?

China’s massive system of hydroelectric dams and water distribution has come under fire once again. Right after the devastating Sichuan earthquake of May 12, 2008, in which over 70,000 people lost their lives, officials rushed to deny that the massive Three Gorges Dam complex hundreds of kilometres downstream could have played any role in triggering…

Read More did china’s dams trigger the sichuan earthquake?

Here’s three reasons why China’s traditional religions and cultures will play an increasingly important role in the East Asian political scene.  In mainland China, more people than ever are turning to religion. An interview with Arrianna Liu, who works in a Beijing-based NGO, reported that it’s not just the government’s attitudes that have changed. Ordinary…

Read More religious traditions and the future of east asia

There has been much news lately that the project to design a massive eco-city on Chongming Island near Shanghai may finally have fizzled out. The project, designed by the British engineering firm Arup, would have created a low carbon-footprint city called Dongtan, just a thirty-minute boat ride from Shanghai. In its first phase, to have…

Read More what has become of china’s eco-cities?

By James Miller In a recent article entitled Two Big China Stories You Missed This Year Jeffrey Wasserstrom, a respected professor of Chinese history at UC Irvine, highlighted the rehabilitation of Confucius as one of the most significant trends in contemporary China. As a historian, his main point was, well, historical. To outsiders it may seem perfectly…

Read More china’s confucian revival