I studied chemistry and was ready to go to work for a big chemical manufacturing company, but Pacific Environment staff inspired me to start Green Anhui instead.
-Zhou Xiang, Executive Director of Green Anhui
Over three decades of breakneck economic and industrial growth has severely strained China's environment: desertification is growing, urban air quality is among the worst in the world, water resources are being depleted and key habitats are being swallowed by development.
The impacts of China's growth are being felt around the globe. The inability of China's farmers to eke out a crop from drying land will force the country to turn to the world food market, causing hikes in world food prices; China's consumption of over a third of the global fish harvest, a number that is certain to grow, is placing severe strain on our already overtaxed oceans.Today, China is the world's number one emitter of climate warming carbon dioxide. In the air above California, one quarter of pollutants can be tracked back to China.
Within its borders, the situation in China is just as grim: China is home to 20 of the world's 30 most polluted cities as listed by the World Bank; nearly a quarter of its citizens lack access to clean drinking water; air pollution is estimated to be costing thousands of lives every day and reducing the average life span for the Chinese; and deforestation has resulted in major biodiversity loss and growing desertification across the country.
Simply put, the environmental future of the Pacific Rim-and that of the world-hinges on how China balances its growing demand for natural resources with successful development.
While Chinese government bodies have demonstrated a strong desire to improve China's environment, the task they face is enormous. Civil society must play a key role in helping to balance China's development needs with sustainable natural resource management.
For over a decade, Pacific Environment has been working with community-based, non-governmental organizations across China to address environmental challenges.We focus on water pollution, and marine conservation and wildlife trade.