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China's environmental challenges have global implications
Date:9/21/2010

EAST LANSING, Mich. --- Unlike Vegas, what happens in China doesn't stay in China.

The country's environmental challenges have worldwide implications, so more developed nations, such as the United States, need to help China adopt integrated solutions for the sake of global sustainability, a Michigan State University environmental scientist argues.

"What happens in China affects the rest of the world," said Jianguo "Jack" Liu, University Distinguished Professor of fisheries and wildlife. Liu is known around the world for his work on environmental sustainability and coupled human and natural systems and is the lead investigator of the International Network of Research on Coupled Human and Natural Systems, funded by the National Science Foundation.

"China is growing very quickly and as its economy has grown, so have its environmental challenges. The first thing everyone needs to do is recognize the relationship between humans and the environment. Environmental problems are an indicator of human problems. By protecting the environment, people protect their health and their livelihoods," he said.

"Every country needs to recognize the important link between human and natural systems," said Peter Raven, president of the Missouri Botanical Garden and noted China scholar. "We focus on China because the country is developing so fast. In 2002, the Chinese government compared the growth in gross domestic product to environmental destruction and both were about 10 percent. Those numbers aren't compared any more because it makes the economic statistics look bleak. China's biodiversity, one of the richest sets of organisms in the world, is seriously threatened by extinction in the decades to come, but if preserved, offers great opportunities to us all for the future."

Liu and Raven's paper, "China's Environmental Challenges and Implications for the World," is published in the September issue of Critical Reviews in Environmenta
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Contact: Jamie DePolo
depolo@msu.edu
609-354-8403
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert

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