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Ecological Migration

Environmental Policy in China

Edited By Masayoshi Nakawo, Yuki Konagaya and Shinjilt

In the context of the current wave of global environmental concern, this book considers measures aimed at solving environmental problems, investigating the example of ecological migration.
The term «ecological migration» refers to the organized migration of people engaged in occupations that cause ecological destruction, aimed at rehabilitating and conserving the affected areas. In the vast arid and semi-arid regions that constitute the steppes of Inner Mongolia, grassland vegetation is in imminent danger due to overgrazing. Therefore, the herders are made to migrate to other areas in order to ensure regeneration of the affected grasslands. This book’s contributions are guided by questions such as: What has been the result of the strategy of ecological migration? Have the grasslands successfully been conserved? And can the desertification of Inner Mongolia be prevented?
The essays collected in this volume originate from a workshop on ecological migration held in Beijing, China, in 2004, and were published in Japanese and Chinese, both in 2005. They have been adopted as a textbook in university classes in Japan and China, and were updated and translated for the English publication.

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Afterword 277

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277 Afterword When we speak of global environmental issues, people tend to understand them as natural phenomena. However, in actuality they are human issues. Thus, what is essentially needed to resolve these issues is human wisdom. So, what can people really do for the earth? Reflecting on this question, we can see that the current decline in birth rate in Japan is certainly not a bad thing. In this country we are about to experience, before any other Asian country, the effects of this most gentle choice for the environment. If we are able to develop a plan to press for- ward even in the face of declining birth rates, the reluctance of young people to pursue careers, and the growing proportion of elderly people, then perhaps we will be in a position to share our experience as social pioneers with the rest of the world. This experience could constitute a global “environmental field study” which would serve as a social contribu- tion to the global community. In order to round out global environmental studies with a human dimension, it is also appropriate and necessary to clarify social phenom- ena occurring in other countries. We can do this by identifying the mecha- nisms and systems by which these phenomena change people’s lives; by asking how the characteristics of localities and regions are altered; and, by extension, by evaluating how the earth as a whole is affected. We must also pay sufficient attention to the pitfalls of various initiatives directed at...

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