When Confucianism Meet the Challenge of Environmental Sustainable Development

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When Confucianism Meet the Challenge of Environmental Sustainable Development

Abstract: Confucian culture has long been the backbone of Chinese traditional culture and also has a strong impact on the ideology of the world. With the development of human beings, Confucianism met with various new challenges in the 21th century. One of the most serious problems is how to keep an environmental sustainable development. To solve this problem, finding a root from traditional culture to arouse people’s consciousness is the key. Key words: Confucianism, environmental sustainable development, consciousness

When we look back on the history of our human beings, it is hard to deny that ourselves, as well as all the other living creatures in the world, are born of nature. However, up to now, human beings destroy the environment arbitrarily for their own interest, hunting animals, felling forest, without thinking about the consequences. On the other hand, nature becomes more and more unsuitable for people to live in. The balance between human beings and the nature is in the process of disappearing. Environmental condition refers to the objective reality of the situation in the environment, with its problems and its impact on human beings. In the first place, due to the destruction made by human beings, the relationship between human and nature becomes strained. With the degradation of the environment, the quality of life for people has dramatically declined. The problem of global warming, acid rain, and ozone depletion become serious. Industrialization, urbanization, and social high consumption call for more energy than it used to be. 95% of world commercial energy is fossil fuel. However, the burning of this fuel produces carbon dioxide ---- one of the main green house gases. Then the “greenhouse effect” increases. Furthermore, the emission of carbon dioxide causes serious pollutions in the atmosphere, forming acid rain. The use of compound, such as solvent and freezing medium, deplete almost 60% of the ozone layer. The ozone hole appears in the Antarctic. Forest and wetland area are rapidly shrinking. Biodiversity reduces. One third of the tropical forest has already lost. According the prediction given by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States), at the beginning of 21 century, there will be 2.4 billion people who cannot obtain basic energy needs from forest. Like the forest, wetland suffers the same fate. The wetland in the developed countries has already disappeared. The destruction of forest and wetland directly leads to nearly 300 species extinguish every day. Soil degradation and erosion intensifies. According to World Resources 1994-1995 released by UNDP (United Nations Development Program) and World Insurance Fund, there are about 1.2 billion hectares of land (approximate to 11% of global vegetation area) eroded by human beings’ activities. The level of freshwater shortage and pollution increases. Up to now, there are over 80 countries (about 2 billion people) suffer water shortage. Based on World Development Report 1992 issued by World Bank, there are over 2 million people died for water pollution every year since 1980s, hundreds of millions of people sick. Excessive consumption of non-renewable resources and marine living resources faces a serious threat. According to World Resources 1994-1995, 9 main metallic minerals and 3 main fossil fuels may be exhausted within 100 years if its consumption rate still keeps. Because of the excessive fishing and pollution, 13 major marine fish is already extinct, and the number of other 4 major fish has reduced to the limits required to survive. The solid waste increases. Stench has become a serious hazard in the city. Stench comes from the mixture of polluted air, water, and all kinds of solid waste. Population expansion deteriorates. After WWII, the population expansion has beyond of capacity of natural environment. The world...
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