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Environmental Winds

Environmental Winds: Making the Global in Southwest China

Michael J. Hathaway
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Environmental Winds
    Book Description:

    The book challenges the notion that globalized social formations emerged solely in the Global North prior to impacting the Global South. Instead, such formations have been constituted, transformed, and propelled through diverse, site-specific social interactions that complicate and defy divisions between 'global' and 'local.' The book brings the reader into the lives of Chinese scientists, officials, villagers, and expatriate conservationists who were caught up in environmental trends over the past 25 years. Hathaway reveals how global environmentalism has been enacted and altered in China, often with unanticipated effects, such as the rise of indigenous rights, or the reconfiguration of human/animal relationships, fostering what rural villagers refer to as "the revenge of wild elephants."

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95676-6
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-7)

    In the summer of 1995, in an old greenhouse in the dry hills above Santa Cruz, California, a chance meeting would inextricably pull me into the world of environmentalism in China. My admiration of a rare orchid with delicate purple petals and intricate designs led to a conversation with a man named Karl Bareis, who told me that this specimen was brought from Southwest China to France in the late 1800s. I knew a bit already about Bareis, a renaissance man fluent in Japanese, a bamboo expert, and a cultivator of rare tropical fruit, and I was interested to learn...

  6. ONE Environmental Winds
    (pp. 8-40)

    In the space of forty years the People’s Republic of China (PRC) went from being a harsh critic of Western environmentalism to what some see as an international vanguard, an “environmental state” (Lang 2002). In 1972 Chinese delegates at the world’s first international conference on the environment, in Stockholm, refused to sign global legislation, arguing that pollution was a product of capitalism, not socialism (Tang 1972). By 2002, however, many outsiders praised the Chinese government’s powerful and sweeping environmental laws in rural areas.¹ China enforced the world’s largest logging ban, converted massive areas of agricultural and grazing lands to forest,...

  7. TWO Fleeting Intersections and Transnational Work
    (pp. 41-72)

    In the spring of 2000 I was back in Kunming to carry out interviews with some elderly scientists who were early nature conservationists in 1950s Mao-era China. Five years earlier I had spent a year working at a forestry college there and had become friends with a number of these scientists; I was now eager to catch up with them. When I was there earlier, some made fleeting references to the past that I had not always understood, but in the subsequent years I did much reading on Chinese history and could better appreciate and contextualize their stories. I especially...

  8. THREE The Art of Engagement
    (pp. 73-115)

    I originally came to xiao long (“Little Dragon” village, pronounced she-yao lawng) to understand how WWF’s project, from 1988 to 1995, had worked out in one of its “model villages.” Based on my readings in anthropology and cultural geography, I expected to see nature conservation efforts as another form of development, which, as a matter of course, imposed hardships. These readings also led me to anticipate that villagers had a strong desire to maintain their own autonomy and resisted WWF’s attempts to impose new ways of life. In many accounts from many different locales, local people oppose global efforts at...

  9. FOUR Making an Indigenous Space
    (pp. 116-151)

    Old zhang was one of my favorite people to talk to in Xiao Long. He was in his seventies and had lived through dramatic transformations in the world around him. He sometimes shocked his daughter and others by talking so frankly about the past, including the hardships he had experienced. But, as he said, he was not long for this world and he had nothing to lose. One winter day in 2002, Old Zhang squatted over a wild banana stalk, slicing it up with a long, locally forged machete to feed the pigs. He wore a blue knit polyblend cap...

  10. FIVE On the Backs of Elephants
    (pp. 152-184)

    What role do wild animals play in global environmental efforts? Previous chapters looked at how Yunnan’s experts played a prominent role in shaping the environmental winds that blew through China. By engaging in various forms of selective engagement and transnational work, they refashioned their province as an important environmental hub within China and ultimately around the globe. Experts did not do all this work by themselves but enlisted the support of many actors, including villagers who maintained compelling environmental knowledge and were willing to describe it to outsiders. More surprisingly, experts’ efforts were also boosted substantially by the presence of...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 185-188)

    After i returned to Ann Arbor, Michigan, from my dissertation fieldwork, I heard from a Chinese friend that her mother had just arrived. My friend didn’t have a car, so I offered to take her mother, Li Ming, shopping so that she could buy some items that weren’t at their nearby Safeway. Many of my friends in urban China were of Li’s generation, newly retired professionals, and I quickly felt at ease with her.

    We drove through town en route to an Asian foods market. She saw one grocery store and asked me if we should try there. As I...

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 189-218)
    (pp. 219-222)
    (pp. 223-250)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 251-258)