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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
SYDNEY, Australia (Reuters) -- China's ambitious economic growth plans are environmentally unachievable because the world does not have enough resources to allow its 1.3 billion people to become Western-style consumers, a U.N. official said on Wednesday.<br><br><br><br>
Klaus Toepfer, head of the U.N. Environment Program, said China's aim of quadrupling its economy by 2020 can only occur if developed nations radically change their consumption habits to free up scarce resources for the world's poor.<br><br><br><br>
"Quadrupling the GDP of a country of 1.3 billion, can you imagine what are the consequences if you go in the same structure as was done in the so-called developed countries?" Toepfer told reporters during a visit to Sydney.<br><br><br><br>
He said that if China had the same density of private cars as, for example Germany, it would have to produce 650 million vehicles -- a target that environmentalists say the world's supply of metal and oil would be unable to sustain.<br><br><br><br>
"It's not a question whether you are devoted to nature or whether this is an emotional topic. This is the rationality of economics," Toepfer said.<br><br><br><br>
China's gross domestic product, or GDP, grew eight percent last year and the government expects it to expand another seven percent in 2003.<br><br><br><br>
Toepfer was in Australia to attend a conference of young environmentalists from Asia, discussing ways of changing consumer habits so that precious resources such as water are conserved.<br><br><br><br>
He said the world's approach to resource use was going through a significant phase with slow economic growth persuading governments in Europe and North America to aggressively try to stimulate consumption.<br><br><br><br>
While senior Chinese officials appeared to be fully aware of the constraints the environment placed on their economic plans, Toepfer said more work needed to be done in developed nations to make environmentally friendly products "trendy" and mainstream.
 

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I´ve been to the VW plant in Shanghai with a delegation, it took us 3 hours for roughly 30 kilometers; car density of privately owned cars was then 1:2300.<br><br>
In the South of China there is a boom like the one in Europe after WW2. The demand for meat and also seafood is rising. I´ve seen Chinese coming from Shanghai to Halong Bay in Vietnam just for a day of feasting on fish and crayfish.<br><br>
I believe, ´China´s economic success will put a tremedous dtrain on world ecology.
 

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So what now?<br><br><br><br>
If there isn't enough to share, should the western world shift down on consuming or should we suppress them and keep them poor ?
 

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You can't really suppress a strong and growing economy.<br><br><br><br>
I don't think we will shift down on <i>consuming</i>, but on what we consume. Consumption is good, it keeps the economy going! People have to get more environmentally aware, and also use their common sense more. For instance, is it really necessary that our cars weigh 2 tons?<br><br><br><br>
However, it's quite clear to me that meat WILL be a bottleneck. There is simply no way that humans can grow as much meat for all the Chinese (and others) as for Westerners, and not screw up the environment completely and irreversibly.
 

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In the short-term, let's send them all our beautiful hand-me-downs, since our culture wastes so much. Long-term (short as possible preferably), let's all go vegan and make a law requiring all consumer goods to be at least 90% recycable. Then invert the ratio of recycling facilities to trash management globally, and I think we'll have something.
 

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I've read in several places that 20% of the world uses 80% of the resources.<br><br><br><br>
I think there will be a shift in what we consume, and the amount of it.<br><br><br><br>
This will cause changes in economy.
 

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1vegan: "keep them poor".<br><br>
What happens to 100.000.000 people, who work the paddy fields, if you introduce small tractors? Any change they make will have repercussions.<br><br>
But I agree, we have to change what and how much we consume.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Actually, the environmental issue has now been a impeding problem of China. However, sadly, few people really concern about it.<br><br><br><br>
Even if the high rate of development of Chinese economy is true, it is also base on the deterioating of enviroment. The consumption of meat has now been very popular, many wild animals are afforded in resteraunt.<br><br><br><br>
I hope this situation can be improved in future. What can I do is being a vegeterian now.
 

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Well, in any case, it sure will be interesting to watch the next 30 years unfold.<br><br><br><br>
What area of China do you live in Ganlu?
 

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Ganlu, are you alone or are more people in China starting to think about the consequences and trying to go veg*an?
 

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recycling is over rated. we should be more interested in re-using things. in germany they use glass containers instead of plastic ones. they re-use all the bottles.<br><br><br><br>
there is enough food in the world to feed people. the problem is distribution and capitalism which causes incredible wastefulness. every go dumpster diving for your dinner? youd be surprised...
 

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Err..... How does capitalism cause "incredible wastefulness" again? As opposed to what? Socialism, communism? The West is indeed incredibly wasteful today, but I don't think you can blame free market capitalism for that. I thought free markets strive for efficiency like no other system.<br><br><br><br>
I agree about the recycle/reuse thing. Recycling IS overrated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by mikie</i><br><br><b>Well, in any case, it sure will be interesting to watch the next 30 years unfold.<br><br><br><br>
What area of China do you live in Ganlu?</b></div>
</div>
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I live in Tianjin, a city close to Beijing.<br><br>
doola, more and more Chinese now begin to realize the benfit of vegeterian, however, vegerterian are still not very popular in China.<br><br>
I have to say that being a vegeterian is a little bit hard for everyone. For example, my parents had spent three years to persuad me to stop vegeterian, I have to struggle against them and the pressure from outside.<br><br>
Actually, most Chinese don't really concern about the deterioating environment.
 

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Ganlu, let me tell you aboout veg*an experiences in Taiwan a couple of years ago. The situation was even worse than you write, because everything contained just a little bit of meat or sea-food. But this has changed radically during the 1980ies and nowadays you find lots of alternatives in Taipei.<br><br>
So it´s up to veg*ans in China to get the changes done. So you might preserve your valuable environment.<br><br>
Gaosu ni, yiqian de laoshi shi lai zi Tianjin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by Lothar M Kirsch</i><br><br><b><br><br>
Gaosu ni, yiqian de laoshi shi lai zi Tianjin.</b></div>
</div>
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Oh, you can speak Chinese, that is a suprise.<br><br>
There are so many vegeterian in Taiwan now, and nearly 25% resteraunts are vegterian.<br><br>
However, vegterian resteraunts are very rare in mainland, about 10 in Peiking and 20 in Shanghai. There is a vegeterian<br><br>
resteraunt in Tianjin, which I have never visited, for I don't think is pure enough.<br><br>
The food is always a big trouble for a vegeterian to travell. As we can't find a suitable resteraunt, sometimes we have to bring food by ourselves.<br><br>
Most people don't realize vegeterian, and they will think that a vegeterian must have some religion believe.
 

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oatmeal, capitalism is wasteful because it promotes excessive consumption of goods. often times these products are literally made just to be thrown out (esp packaging). the reason companies do this is because it makes money. also, instead of "non useful" (ie: unsellable) things going to some sort of use they are thrown out. a perfect example would be with the food industry. bananas are thrown out in big grocery stores when they start to get little brown spots or sometimes before they even get the brown spots. these bananas are actually perfect for eating but grocery stores throw them out anyways because they dont think theyre sellable. socialism/communism (in the typical sense) could be wasteful as well... and honestly i dont really care for either of them... (except for the fact that i am an anarchist and you could argue that anarchism is communist in nature just minus the whole government/authoritarian thing).
 

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I disagree. Capitalism promotes consumption, yes. But it does not have to be environmentally damaging consumption and products. For instance, capitalism drives music businesses to online downloads -> no more CDs.<br><br><br><br>
The problem is not capitalism and consumption. Those are very good things. The problem is that the environmental damages the products cause are not represented in the price of the products. If they were, then you couldn't come up with a system that would produce environmentally friendly products faster than free market capitalism.<br><br><br><br>
I say let prices reflect the real costs of a product (including environmental costs, as well as the cost of their recycling/reuse), and let free markets come up with environmentally friendly and not wasteful products and services.<br><br><br><br>
My 2 cents <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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"The problem is not capitalism and consumption. Those are very good things. The problem is that the environmental damages the products cause are not represented in the price of the products. If they were, then you couldn't come up with a system that would produce environmentally friendly products faster than free market capitalism.<br><br><br><br>
I say let prices reflect the real costs of a product (including environmental costs, as well as the cost of their recycling/reuse), and let free markets come up with environmentally friendly and not wasteful products and services."<br><br><br><br>
I think that would conflict with "free trade" and american policy.<br><br><br><br>
I guess it would mean that petrol prices would triple......
 

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oatmeal, you are talking about something we call "green capitalism". i personally do not agree that capitalism and corporations have the ability or the desire to become green/environmentally friendly. corporations want maximum profits and they do this at the expense of other humans, other animals, and the environment. that is the essence of capitalism. even though companies may paint a pretty picture abour their environmental record they are often not telling the truth.<br><br><br><br>
there are deeper, more fundamental flaws within capitalism. it is an unstable system based on "boom and bust", it is alienating to humans on a number of levels (relationship between humans and environment, relationship between humans and work, etc.), it also creates class conflicts due to the significant divide between rich and poor.<br><br><br><br>
oatmeal, your idea is better then what we have. however, you must also address the needs of workers within the system. how will they afford these more expensive items? standard of living in canada and the usa has been going down in the past few years. our generation is alrerady having a harder time economically than out parents and grand parents.<br><br><br><br>
xoxo
 
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