China is changing fast. Roads seem to materialize under the cars as they drive. Buildings appear to sprout on the horizon overnight. The dramatic pace of growth is matched only by both domestic and foreign demand for China’s natural resources and the products that come from them.
China possesses astounding diversity and natural resources. It is a land of dry deserts and lush mountains, of poverty and wealth, of Tibetan tradition and Chinese nationalism. It is a place where dramatic mountain peaks drop into steep river gorges, where dense forests give way to open grasslands. China holds four biodiversity hotspots: the Mountains of Southwest China, Himalaya, Indo-Burma and Mountains of Central Asia.
Striking a balance between maintaining China’s natural splendor and achieving economic growth is the key to China’s conservation efforts. Opportunities exist and our achievements are mounting daily.
Deep in the mountains of southwest China, we work with nature reserves to patrol and monitor threatened wildlife, such as giant pandas and golden monkeys.
PARTNER PROFILE: Meet our trusted panda expert, Dr. Lu Zhi.
In Guangzhou, Beijing and other prosperous large urban centers, we educate consumers to reduce use of threatened wildlife. In Yunnan, we’re supporting the world’s first small-scale forestry project to meet strict Kyoto Protocol requirements. In Beijing, planning for the 2008 “Green Olympics” touched almost every aspect of daily life, and we were there.
On the flip side of the coin, China has already polluted most of the nation’s rivers, lakes, and underground water, displacing riverside communities and biological diversity. This water quality, paired with increased river traffic, may have driven at least one species, the Yangtze River dolphin, to extinction and decreased fisheries catch.
Elsewhere, as manufacturing increases and cities grow, China is poised to surpass the U.S. as the largest greenhouse gas emitter – by some estimates, they already have. Nationwide, a growing demand for automobiles is increasing demand for oil, adversely affecting landscapes in Africa and many other places around the globe. Today, China’s development footprint stretches worldwide and countries are vying to meet the demand.
LOST THERE, FELT HERE: The burning of forests releases more carbon than all the world's cars, trucks and planes combined. Protect an acre of forest now.
A child born in Beijing today faces a much different life than her parents. She will face new dangers to her environment, and therefore her security. And she will face new opportunities to help China become a global leader in many ways, including conservation. We are working with communities, businesses, and the government to protect her air, her water supply, and the natural world she will inherit.