Reply To: National Parks, civilisation and globalisation

Author Replies # Posted on May 21, 2014 at 14:02

Reflection of the discussion (20th May)
By Yongliang Gao

I really enjoyed yesterday’s discussion with Jane and all of you. During the discussion, we talked about how globalization could contribute to a healthy environment of valuable nature with a healthy human society bordering national parks.

I think our discussion was extensively concentrated on political issues. Like someone said, to build and maintain a national park, politicians play a big role because they are responsible for leasing out fund and deciding how the money should be used. One issue arose our concern was that some politicians may deploy the policies in the short-term as they care more about the situation during their tenures. Hence, it’s hard to measure the sustainable development of the national park as it requires a longer time to examine the sustainability of the park. Another issue in question is the purpose of building a national park. Obviously, a few national parks are built not only for safeguarding the ecology within the parks, but also to stimulate economic benefits. Regularly, a national park is planned with an aim to attract tourists. For me, this is a dilemma because if the parks exclude tourists, the economic gain would be largely decreased; whereas if the parks are open to the tourists, especially the popular ones, tourism activities may in turn lead to ecological degradation in the parks. In that case, what is the legitimacy of pouring money into establishing and maintaining the national parks?

Except that, we also talked about people’s attitude toward nature in China. I would say that it’s rather difficult to compare nature with China the West. First of all, the population of China is dramatically large and most of them dwell in cities. Consequently, the investment majorly goes to the cities and the infrastructure (e.g. Road, electricity, water and food) in the rural area, thus, is way lag-behind in comparison with that in the cities. Second, I would say, nature is, in some degree, disconnected and unattractive to the urban inhabitants as nature only locates in the remote, undeveloped regions. No matter how intact or beautiful the nature is, the Chinese people barely look forward to approaching there. Rather than getting to the nature, the Chinese people indeed pay more attention on improving their living environment in the cities.