Environmental Values and Civil Society
Though China's economy is projected to become the world's largest within the next twenty years, industrial pollution threatens both the health of the country's citizens and the natural resources on which their economy depends. Capturing the consequences of this reality, Bryan Tilt conducts an in-depth, ethnographic study of Futian Township, a rural community reeling from pollution.
The industrial township is located in the populous southwestern province of Sichuan. Three local factories-a zinc smelter, a coking plant, and a coal-washing plant-produce air and water pollution that far exceeds the standards set by the World Health Organization and China's Ministry of Environmental Protection. Interviewing state and company officials, factory workers, farmers, and scientists, Tilt shows how residents cope with this pollution and how they view its effects on health and economic growth. Striking at the heart of the community's environmental values, he explores the intersection between civil society and environmental policy, weighing the tradeoffs between protection and economic growth. Tilt ultimately finds that the residents are quite concerned about pollution, and he investigates the various strategies they use to fight it. His study unravels the complexity of sustainable development within a rapidly changing nation.
"Tilt's remarkable... timely book, which offers a major contribution to the study of China and environmental governance in the developing world." — Anna Lora-Wainwright, The China Journal
"An interesting and illuminating book for scholars who wish to understand the present ecological situation in rural China and the daily conflict between values and actions that confront the local governments and citizens of China." — Li Ying, China Quarterly
"An important addition to environmental studies of China." — Yan Gao, H-Environment
"Struggle for Sustainability has something important to offer a wide audience...its manageable rendering of technical and scientific industrial production and pollution measurement reaches the nonenvironmental specialist; and its lucid prose and compelling ethnographic evidence have the potential to attract a lay readership beyond the environs of academia." — Jennifer Hubbert, American Anthropologist
"Bryan Tilt tackles the multifaceted nature of environmental conditions, crises, and responses. In this nuanced, detailed analysis, the reader is presented with a slice of history, life, problems, actions, and consequences. In short, Tilt's work is informative, engaging, and unique." — Barbara Rose Johnston, UNESCO-IHP advisor on water and cultural diversity, and senior research fellow, Center for Political Ecology
"An excellent book that makes a very useful case study on the fundamental causes and effects of pollution in China. The volume provides a superb explanation of the root causes of China's incredible disregard for the natural environment as the country rapidly develops." — Steven Cohen , The Earth Institute at Columbia University
"A timely book that provides an in-depth account of the environmental problems of a Chinese community in the early twenty-first century. Tilt's thorough and meticulous data gathering makes this book a unique and major benchmark study of China's environmental problem and its effect on a local community. It will remain valuable as a historic document." — Gene Anderson, University of California, Riverside
"The first study that really lets us understand China's environmental issues from the ground up. Tilt reveals how environmental attitudes vary with social position and how policies vary from one level of government to the next. Above all, his ethnography shows us the sharp horns of China's environmental dilemma." — Robert P. Weller, Boston University
List of Figures
List of Tables
1. Environmental Values, Civil Society, and Sustainability in Post-Reform China
2. The Development Imperative
3. Saying Farewell to Communal Capital
4. The Environmental Costs of Progress
5. Pollution, Perceptions, and Environmental Values
6. Civil Society and the Politics of Pollution Enforcement
7. Struggling for Sustainability
8. Conclusion: On Contradictions
Appendix: List of Chinese Characters
Cecil B. Currey Book Award from the Association of Third World Studies.