Chinadialogue carried a two-part report by Pan Yue. In part one, Pan argued that “China’s development has had a tumultuous history. Now is the time for a fair and sustainable model of growth.” In this part, Pan stated that “Environmental protection needs to pay attention to issues of culture and ethics.”
Why is environmental protection considered a cultural issue? One of the core principles of traditional Chinese culture is that of harmony between man and nature. Different philosophies all emphasise the political wisdom of a balanced environment. Whether it is the Confucian idea of man and nature becoming one, the Daoist view of the Dao reflecting nature, or the Buddhist belief that all living things are equal, Chinese philosophy has helped our culture to survive for thousands of years.
It can be a powerful weapon in preventing an environmental crisis and building a harmonious society. It is a shame that two historical events almost wiped out these traditional ways of thinking. The first was the May Fourth Movement, during which Confucian ideology was viciously attacked; the movement had a certain degree of historical rationality, but it can be criticised for going too far. The second was the Cultural Revolution, during which Confucianism was held up as the “opposite” of Marxism and anything representing traditional culture was smashed….[Full Text]