For the CDT Bookshelf, China Digital Times invites experts on China to recommend a book to CDT readers. This month, Orville Schell, dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, recommends “The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China’s Future,” by Elizabeth C. Economy, Council on Foreign Relations Books/Cornell University Press, 2004.
Schell writes: “Of all the problems that weigh on China’s future success or failure, few will be more consequential that the fate of its environment and natural resources. Elizabeth Economy, who is C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director of Asian Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, has written a superb book chronicling both the advancing state of environmental degradation as a result of China’s high-speed development, and the nascent environmental movement that is incubating around these problems.
Her view is bleak, but not necessarily despairing. She sees China as at a critical tipping-point movement in regard to its water, oceans, forests, pasture lands, air and other natural resources. It is Economy’s view that if China does not find a more ecological balance between the forces of industrial development and environment preservation, it will not be too long before it will be “too late” to actually find a systematic remedy.
This may prove to be one of the most important books about the most crucial topic in China today. Only time will tell whether a balance can be found.”
-Economy’s testimony before the Congressional Executive Commission on China Roundtable on the Environment, titled “China’s Environmental Challenge: Political, Social and Economic Implications.”
-Lucian W. Pye’s review of “The River Runs Black” in Foreign Affairs.
-An excerpt from the book published in The Globalist,