A recent forum on promoting ecological progress has once again underlined the importance of simultaneously delivering economic and environmental benefits to society. As President Xi Jinping has famously stated, green is gold.
Centering on harmony between humanity and nature, the 2023 Erhai Forum on Global Ecological Civilization Construction gathered hundreds of participants from government bodies, international organizations, the business community and academia.
Erhai is a lake in Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province in southwest China. Over the past few years, the ear-shaped body of water resting at some 2,000 meters above sea level has seen its natural beauty restored courtesy of unrelenting rehabilitation efforts. It was only befitting the forum was launched there in 2021 to celebrate its achievements and, at the same time, raise awareness of the China-proposed notion that is ecological civilization.
The construction of ecological civilization in China is a discourse and a practical strategy that promotes harmony between human development, environmental protection and climate action.
China has prioritized ecological progress and embedded it in every dimension and phase of its economic and social development. In creating the concept of ecological civilization featuring a deep-seated respect for Mother Nature, the country has lifted its efforts to establish a sound economic structure that facilitates green, low-carbon and circular development.
That green is gold is the core concept in ecological civilization. It represents a break with the idea that economic growth and environmental protection cancel each other. Instead, protecting and improving the ecological environment are important ways—the ultimate goals, even—of economic development, while new technologies and methods generated by said development can further enhance environmental governance.
For instance, as the economy keeps growing and people's basic material needs are met, they can start focusing on other wants and look at how to prioritize these to maximize enjoyment and quality of life. Travel is one such desire. Villages sitting in beautiful ecological surroundings have become popular holiday destinations, turning village tourism into a new trend.
Fostering ecological progress, stepping up environmental protection efforts, establishing a green economic system and realizing sustainable development will require all of society's long-term support.