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 Environment and Development

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Source: Peking Review, No. 20, May 14, 1976, p. 19


by Chu Ko-ping


The question of environment and development is of common concern to
various countries in the world. The numerous developing countries are
speeding up the development of their national economies and, in the
course of such development, are protecting and improving the environment
so that economic development and environmental protection can be
co-ordinated with each other. This is a question of special concern to
the developing countries and their people.

The question of environmental pollution and its damages has cropped up
in many areas of the world. Pollution has become a scourge of society in
some countries with highly developed economies. What is the root cause
of environmental pollution and damage?  The main social cause of
environmental pollution and its damages lies in the fact that, as a
result of the development of capitalism into imperialism, the monopoly
capitalist groups, in their quest for big profits, are unscrupulously
plundering the natural resources and disposing of harmful substances at
will, thereby polluting and poisoning the environment. The developing
countries also face certain questions concerning the environmental
pollution and damage. But their environmental question is different in
nature from that in the developed countries. Over a long period in the
past, the colonialists and imperialists dominated the Asian, African and
Latin American regions by various means, controlling their economic
lifelines, carrying out savage plunder and ruthless exploitation, and
engaging in indiscriminate development and utilization of natural
resources, thereby wreaking serious havoc on their national economies
and natural environment.  This is the root cause of the poverty and
backwardness of the developing countries and of the damage to their
environment.  In the face of superpower hegemonism, this state of
affairs has become even more serious in these regions.

Now some people still regard economic development as the root cause of
environmental pollution, while others consider poverty its root cause.
All these views represent an attempt to evade the essence of the matter
and seek the causes of the problem from superficial phenomenon, thus
making it impossible to reach a correct conclusion in conformity with
objective reality, and leading to pessimism about the future of the
human environment.

Economic development and environmental protection are interrelated and
promote each other. The former gives rise to the environmental problem
and the latter constitutes an important condition for developing the
economy; economic development increases the capability to protect the
environment, and environmental improvement in turn promotes economic
development.  This is the interdependent relationship between the two.

At present, the developing countries have a pressing need to develop
their national economies, gradually build up a modern industry and
modern agriculture and achieve economic independence so as to
consolidate their political independence. This is the urgent task of the
developing countries in freeing themselves from imperialist,
colonialist, neo-colonialist and big-power hegemonist control and
plunder; it is also a basic guarantee for the protection and improvement
of the environment. In the absence of political independence and
economic development, how can the environment be effectively protected
and improved? Economic development will be bring with it the problem of
environmental pollution, which, however, can be solved only in the
course of development, not by calling a halt to development or slowing
down its pace. We hold that in the struggle against nature, man has
constantly to sum up experience and go on discovering, inventing,
creating and advancing. With social progress and scientific and
technological development, the problem of environmental pollution can be
prevented and solved in the course of development so long as we proceed
from the interests of the people and adopt effective measures to this
end.

China is a developing socialist country. We have in the course of
advance also come across the problem of economic development causing
environmental pollution. The main cause of pollution is the problem left
over from the old China. It takes some time to transform the lopsided
economy in the old society. So far we are still short of adequate
experience and knowledge of environmental protection work, which is a
new problem for us. Chairman Mao has taught us that we should proceed in
all cases from the interests of the people. Economic development is in
the interests of the people and so is environmental protection. The
development and protection are in harmony with each other. We are
constantly summing up experience and striving to reduce and eliminate
pollution while developing the economy so as to create good living and
working conditions for the working people.

In developing the economy, we should make an overall planning and
arrangement when handling the relations between industry and
agriculture, between town and country, between production and
livelihood, between economic development and environmental protection,
so that they will advance in co-ordination with each other. This is an
important measure for preventing industrial pollution.

As to the development and utilization of natural resources, we should
also make an all-round planning to ensure multiple benefits, pay
attention to immediate and long-term effects, take into consideration
the accruing gains and the possible effect on the ecological conditions.
Our practice in the building of water conservancy projects over the
years has proved that by making an overall planning and striving to
ensure multiple benefits in flood-control, power-generation, irrigation,
navigation and cultivation of aquatics, we can make the best use of
water resources and at the same time reduce and avoid damage to the
environment.

Geographical distribution of industries should be put on a rational
basis, with greater stress put on small cities and towns. The small
cities and towns have characteristics favouring the environmental
protection such as the integration of cities with the countryside, of
workers with peasants, facilitating production and conveniencing daily
life. Meanwhile, the difficulties which often arise in big cities can be
averted in small cities and towns: difficulties in housing,
communications and transport, supplies of agricultural and sideline
products and other public welfare facilities. This is also beneficial to
environmental improvement.

To prevent industrial wastes from contaminating the environment, we put
anti-pollution measures into practice simultaneously with the designing,
construction and commission of the projects in our industrial
construction. Such practice has proved effective. In so doing, we can
ponder over the ways and means,before the construction work starts, of
getting rid of the harmful substances as best we can in the course of
production, or adopt purifying measures against any possible damage
which might accrue from these harmful substances. This may cost more
money when a project is under construction, but the cost will be much
smaller than the price which has to be paid for keeping the pollution
under control after it has occurred, and the results have proved much
better.

Will the environmental protection and improvement affect development and
slow down its pace?  This depends on what policies are adopted. Our
country regards the multiple-purpose use of resources as an important
policy for economic development. Thanks to the development of modern
industrial technology, the natural resources discovered and used by
mankind are increasing daily. Discharge of industrial wastes at will
will contaminate the environment. Multiple-purpose utilization of
industrial wastes makes it possible to turn many harmful things to good
account and make useless things useful.  This will help to open up new
sources of raw materials for industry, expand social production,
increase social wealth and promote the development of production.

Agriculture is the foundation for the development of the national
economies of the developing countries. Without the development of
agriculture, industrial development cannot go very far. Protection and
improvement of the environment is of particular importance to promoting
the development of agriculture.

Agriculture production, including food crops, forestry, livestock
breeding, side occupations and fishery, depends to a large extent on
natural conditions. There is a certain limit to the development of
agriculture under certain natural conditions, that is, it will be
hampered by natural conditions. However, through its own hard work,
mankind can change the existing natural conditions and strive to master
the natural law governing the reproduction of living things, and create
still greater productive forces. On the question of the natural
conditions for agriculture, the naturalist point of view is wrong, and
the ideas of pessimism and inertia are both groundless. In the old
China, as a result of the long years of oppression and plunder by the
imperialists and their lackeys, rural natural environment was seriously
damaged, agricultural production was ruined because large tracts of land
turned alkaline or became deserts. One-third of the cultivated lands
were red soils or alkaline, sand-stony and cold-swampy fields and lands
susceptible to drought and waterlogging. Some lands became barren. Since
the founding of New China,   our Government has given the first
place to agriculture in developing the national economy. By
extensive mobilization of the masses, relying on our own efforts and
transforming our country in an indomitable spirit as displayed by the
legendary Foolish Old Man who removed the mountains,   it has
worked with great will to transform the natural conditions for
production.  After more than two decades of hard work, we have improved
over one half of the alkaline land in north China, reclaimed, utilized
and improved over 120 million mu of red soil which is sometimes called
"red deserts," and brought one-fifth of the land subject to erosion
under preliminary control.  With the planting of shelter belts over
large areas and the improvement of water conservancy conditions in the
desert regions in northwest and north China, more and more oases have
emerged. The improvement of natural conditions for agriculture has
enabled China to reap good harvests for 14 years running, with the broad
masses of the people enjoying a happy life. Certain people assert that
speedy development of agriculture would reduce the fertility of soil and
bring about an ecological crisis. The fact that China has improved
the  natural conditions for agriculture and reaped good harvests in
succession shows that mankind can transform nature and create a more
suitable environment. So long as the creative power of the people is
brought into full play and necessary measures are taken, the fertility
of soil will not be destroyed; instead, poor soil can be turned into
fertile soil and produce more food grains.
  
  
  

 
 
顶端 Posted: 2009-02-17 12:35 | [楼 主]
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