(W.E.Talk) Donald Worster: To Build Eco-civilization, China and the West Need Each Other

2024-06-09 Editor : Xue Lingqiao ECNS App Download

By Wang Suning & Wang Zonghan from CNS

Ecology, is created in 19th Century, attracting more and more attention worldwide. What is ecology? Why building eco-civilization need China and the West? Donald Worster, a member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAA&S) and one of the founders of the field of environment history, noted during the exclusive interview with W.E.Talk from CNS, that eco-civilization is a cultural "answer" to environmental problems.

Here are excepts from the interview:

CNS: What is “ecology”? How ecology changed the way people think about nature in modern society?

Donald Worster: Ecology comes out of the work of Charles Darwin. He believed that this nature creates these relationships out of itself and make all these things go.

I don't think most people anywhere in the world understand just how beautifully fertile this planet is, how unique you can see it in photographs. Darwin understood that and said "it's a miracle". The nature will continue on forever, but we may not—we're in just one species out of the bunch. The ecologist who came in after him began to see how all these things were related.

Ecology has to do with the relationships between plants, animals, air, water, people—all those things, and people need to find the proper way to keep this kind of relationship. Therefore,the eco-civilization is a cultural answer to environmental problems facing the environmental change, with the premise of the respect to the natural science.

Different social systems can work together to build the eco-civilization, which is less-restricted by anthropocentrism. It makes people to learn the knowledge of all ecosystem and species in our planet, and pay more attention to the responsibility for the everything and nature itself.

CNS: What's your impression about the current state of environmental and historical research in the US and China?

Donald Worster: In the fields of environmental history or ecology or biology, the United States is developing beyond any other country. We have so much money and so many people writing them and working in this area. I think China is making a lot of effort to invest in environmental science, environmental knowledge, environmental resources, and the protection of the land. It takes seriously the idea of becoming an ecological civilization. I think that's very impressive and very important.

An ecological civilization is a civilization that must be listening to people in ecology who has training and paying attention and changing the way you do business, the way you teach, the way you produce food. China is working in these directions, and I think I'm very optimistic.


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