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Ancient Wisdom in a new Policy Framework

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I would like to address the two issues of Rural Revitalisation and Ecological Civilisation in reverse order.

The Concept of Ecological Civilisation in China is deep rooted. The Dao, or Way, of Daoism established this approach in accord with the flow of nature.

In early China, where the majority of people were engaged in rural societies and agricultural pursuits producing enough food for survival, population pressure was much lower, and food security was largely achieved using time honoured principles of organic farming.

The major changes that have occurred in the last 40-50 years are population increase, industrialisation and urbanisation. The economy has become less dependent on food production and to meet the demands of feeding the nation, and the proportion of the population engaged in food production has decreased.  More has been demanded of farmers, and agriculture too has become more industrialised, with a neglect of some environmental issues.

The ancient Daoist wisdom of harmony between humanity and nature is resurfacing in a modern  approach to development. Xi Jinping is leading a renewal of the concept of connecting the ecosystem with human civilizationion, Man and Nature in harmony.

In rural revitalisation, there are two key aspects that support a future of an ecological civilisation.

Firstly, environmentally sustainable green policies and technologies are essential. I will offer some examples here:

  • In recent decades, policy has made great steps forward in converging the physical environment with sustainable practices. Examples of this include zero-cultivation of steep slopes, reforestation and restricted or zero grazing.
  • There have been new scientific innovation in technology. This is an area that is continuously developing, and has great potential for the future.
    • Technologies that include monitoring of crops using drones and accompanying software to observe and analyse disease and drought pressure. While drones have obvious impact on extensive field crop analysis and farming systems, it also has application in smaller scale production systems like tunnel houses in analysing nutrition and disease pressure.. This micro-analysis approach leads to improved production and effective and targeted use of pest and nutrition interventions, and efficient use of water resources.
  • Use of environmentally sustainable electricity generation is an important addition to rural revitalisation. Solar power production for temperature control in tunnel houses, water  pumping and manufacturing processes is on the increase.
  • Efficient supply chains and transport systems to get produce to market are also valuable contributions to promoting an ecological civilisation.

Secondly, rural revitalisation needs to achieve attractive levels of support for economic development of local communities, and for households working in harmony to a revitalised rural environment.

To be attractive to retain young people in rural communities, there needs to be good opportunity to support incomes and livelihoods that can compete with an urban lifestyle.

  • Income needs to be equal to or greater than can be earnt through urban migration.
  • Services need to be considered adequate by families staying in rural communities. This includes good access to education for children; health services that can allow a sense of security; and opportunity to participate in commerce. The latter is certainly being increasingly met through internet marketing and shopping. In these ways, poverty of opportunity created through isolation in rural communities is overcome, and rural lifestyles are revitalised.
  • An important aspect of revitalised rural communities is to create a harmonious community, to work together in implementing environmental sustainable food production and reaching the markets to the advantage of all. Identifying the best products for each geographic location in a land use planning system optimises quality, saves resources, decreases environmental degradation and improves financial returns to farmers.
  • Collaboration in adopting technologies, and coordination in maximising market returns can both be enhanced by establishing cooperatives and working together.
  • Green approaches include minimising waste, especially toxic and non- biodegradable waste, and waste treatment solutions, so that the local environment does not become polluted. In this respect, rural communities can create a beautiful environment that all citizens can take pride in, and enjoy. Clean land, clean water, and clean air are at the centre of revitalised rural communities.

In summary, China is establishing a reputation as a global  leader in establishing an ecological civilisation through establishing a supportive policy environment, and a good governance approach.

Through scientific innovations and new technologies to improve environmental sustainability, an increase in production leads to improved  financial returns for rural people.

Developing infrastructure, including health care, education, and market access attracts young people to a rural life in beautiful environments , and rural revitalisation is achieved.

Dave Bromwich