An Ecologist


Sustainability on the Third Pole: Of Water and Carbon; Policies and People

China is undergoing extraordinarily rapid change. Development is occurring at a phenomenal rate; indeed a full transformation of the landscape is taking place, both urban and rurala transformation that we never dreamed possible only a few years ago. In addition, all of this is taking place with an apparent resolve with inherent potential consequencesunintended consequences, perhaps, but no less serious in their social or environmental impactsthat could in fact undermine the very reasons for which the planned changes were initiated in the first place.

What are these changes, policies, actions? They can be summed up under the umbrella of all the development policies, projects and actions related to urbanization, on the one hand, and to several major environmental concerns in China's vast inland, western regions, on the other hand. How can "urbanization" and "environment"often seen as being on opposite ends of a spectrum or continuumbe drawn together and referred to as part of the same paradigm? The answer: through the notion of sustainability.