Forum discusses China's urbanization

Updated: 2013-04-27 15:54


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LOS ANGELES -- Scholars and experts on ecological civilization gathered here on Friday to discuss rural development, noting that China's development of rural culture and agriculture is of great importance to the future of itself and the world.

The 7th international forum on ecological civilization, held at Pitzer College in the suburbs of Los Angeles, focused on problems China has met in the process of urbanization, discussing ways to better develop ecological agriculture, build rural communities and expand small farms.

John B. Cobb, Jr., theologist, ecological economist, and president of the Institute for Postmodern Development of China, said in a speech that America has learned a lesson on its own road of industrialization and he hoped China "will not be attracted to the extreme form of capitalism that now controls this country."

"We deeply mourn our destruction of a once healthy rural and small town America. Independent farmers and the small towns that served them were once the backbone of our cultural and political life. Their disappearance has deeply wounded American public life, " said Cobb.

Meanwhile, he said climate change will make food production require more flexibility and frequent adjustments, noting that farmers should seek help from scientists to adapt to uncertain weather conditions.

Zhihe Wang, executive director of the Institute for Postmodern Development of China, told Xinhua that China has made great achievements in its economic development in the past 30 years, but the smog in Beijing and other cities as well as water pollution have served as a warning to China that it is time to protect the environment.

Wang said when his institute sponsored the first forum, there were fewer experts and scholars attending, but this year, about 110 experts came from China, and about 60 experts from the United States, Germany and other countries.

"More and more people, from officials to experts, have realized that our environment should be protected, and economic development should not be achieved at the cost of environment," said Wang.

He said China has a farming history of several thousand years, and he believes that the Chinese have the wisdom to turn the present heavily chemical fertilizer and pesticide dependent farming into organic farming.

While it is important to change the way of farming, it is also important to build rural communities, Wang said.

He said urbanization in China is not to eliminate villages. On the contrary, villages should be built to provide more services to the people living there. When farmers can live as conveniently as those in big cities, more people, especially young people, will stay in the villages.

Wang noted that it is important to raise awareness of the issue among government officials, experts and the general public.

The two-day conference kicked off on Friday and was co-sponsored by the Institute for Postmodern Development of China of the Center for Process Studies, Yale University, Pitzer College, Hendrix College, Claremont Lincoln University, Central Bureau of Compilation & Translation, the Chinese Society for Dialectics of Nature and Renmin University of China.

Also on Friday, a photo exhibition called "China's Ecological Civilization Construction," co-sponsored by Xinhua News Agency and Consulate General of China in Los Angeles, was held during the conference.

It reflects China's efforts, achievements, challenges and the future plan on the ecological civilization construction.