Why China is crucial for the harmony of humanity and nature
Li Yufeng
Blooming flowers in Xiongcun Township, Shexian County, east China's Anhui Province, February 25, 2023. /Xinhua
Blooming flowers in Xiongcun Township, Shexian County, east China's Anhui Province, February 25, 2023. /Xinhua

Blooming flowers in Xiongcun Township, Shexian County, east China's Anhui Province, February 25, 2023. /Xinhua

Editor's note: Noting that 2023 is the first year for fully implementing the guiding principles from the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the ongoing "Two Sessions" will grab the world's attention. To better understand China's development blueprint, CGTN has curated the "Towards China's Modernization" series, and this is the fifth piece. Li Yufeng is an associate professor at the School of Marxism Studies under Renmin University of China. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

The relationship between humanity and nature is very essential in our human society. Human civilization's history is also about the development between man and nature. While pursuing modernization, the Western developed countries have amassed huge material wealth and accelerated the acquisition of natural resources, which had broken the earth's ecosystem balance, and the deep-seated contradictions between human beings and nature have become more apparent.

Nonetheless, Chinese path to modernization is enjoined by harmonious coexistence of humans and nature.

Such actions have been adhered to and have innovated the Marxist theory of dialectical unity between man and nature in the excellent traditional Chinese culture, while remaining an inseparable community of life.

Nature nurtured and raised human beings. Without nature, human beings will lose the foundation for survival and development. When human beings make reasonable use of nature and protect it in a friendly way, the return of nature is often generous; when human beings plunder nature in disorder, the punishment of nature is inexorable.

To protect nature is to protect humanity, and to build an ecological civilization would benefit society. Human development activities must respect, conform to and protect nature. This is an objective law that does not depend on human will. Adhering to the harmonious coexistence of humans and nature can result in a win-win situation to protect the ecological environment and improving the quality of life of the people through high-quality green development.

Entering the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the Communist Party of China (CPC) plans for development at the height of harmonious coexistence between humans and nature, breaks the traditional view that ecological environment protection and economic development stand opposed. Implementing the concept that clean waters and green mountains are just as valuable as gold and silver, China promotes the green development and lifestyle, and limits economic activities to the extent that natural resources and ecological environment can bear. By leaving time and space for natural ecology to recuperate, we can make the resources, production, consumption and other factors match in order to realize the coordination of economic and social development, as well as ecological environment protection.

A view of Wushan section of Yangtze River in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, May 19, 2022. /Xinhua
A view of Wushan section of Yangtze River in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, May 19, 2022. /Xinhua

A view of Wushan section of Yangtze River in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, May 19, 2022. /Xinhua

The CPC also focuses on tackling prominent ecological environment problems around the people, accelerating the improvement of the quality of the ecological environment, not only creating more material and spiritual wealth to meet the people's growing needs for a better life, while providing more high-quality ecological products to meet the people's yearning for a beautiful ecological environment. Accordingly, the people can capture the real environmental benefits ushered in by economic development.

It's also essential to boost the integrated protection and restoration of mountains, forests, fields, lakes, grass and sand, carry out major ecological protection and restoration projects, promote large-scale land greening operations, implement major projects for biodiversity conservation.

China will also promote the construction of the nature reserve system with national parks as the main body, to improve the diversity, stability and sustainability of the ecosystem, and achieve the unity of ecological protection, green development and people's livelihood improvement.

China's ecological and environmental protection has undergone an ecological miracle that has attracted worldwide attention.

Since 2012, China has supported an average annual economic growth rate of 6.6 percent with an average annual energy consumption growth rate of 3 percent. In 2021, the national energy consumption per 10,000 yuan (about $1,435) worth of GDP decreased by 26.4 percent compared with 2012. In 2021, the national water consumption per 10,000 yuan (about $1,435) worth of GDP was 51.8 cubic meters, dropped by around 45 percent compared with 2012.

The annual sales volume of new energy vehicles have increased rapidly from 13,000 in 2012 to 3.52 million in 2021, ranking first in the world for seven consecutive years since 2015. Since 2000, China has been the main force of the increase of afforested areas in the world, and about a quarter of the new afforested area in the world comes from China. By the end of 2021, nearly 10,000 nature reserves of all kinds at all levels have been established, accounting for more than 17 percent of the land area of the country. Ninety percent of the land natural ecosystem types and 74 percent of the national key protected wildlife species have been protected.

A harmonious coexistence between human beings and nature is slowly spreading across China. Green development has become a bright background for entering a new stage of development and achieving high-quality development, and a solid step for the modernization of harmonious coexistence between man and nature.

Adhering to a harmonious coexistence development has not only benefited China, but provided much experience for countries worldwide to handle the relationship between humans and nature, economy and ecology, and contributed Chinese wisdom, Chinese planning and Chinese strength to build a community of human and natural life and jointly constructing a prosperous, clean and beautiful world.

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