Second essay revis - Li 1 Jennifer Li Peter Lavelle...

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Li Jennifer Li Peter Lavelle Environment and Agriculture in Modern China 21 Sept 2009 The Clash between Pragmatism and Ideology Since the late Imperialistic era, China had been taking paths that deviated significantly from its ancient times; people seem to have forgotten the traditions and philosophies that used to be of great importance to their ancestors. The balance between nature and humans—as ancient philosophers used to emphasize and follow—was partly offset by the apparent benefits of industrialization and economic growth. Moreover, in order to adjust to external and internal forces such as population expansion, survival pressure, and modern industrialization, China faced no other choice but to ignore some of its traditional ideologies. To understand how the Chinese’s attitude had changed, the significance of nature to the Chinese must be examined. Throughout the imperial times, nature played a great role in the emperors’ decision makings. One of the leading Chinese philosophies regarding man’s relationship with nature was tian ren he yi —the idea that nature and man are a whole (Hou 483). Even as early as the Han dynasty, concepts of the balance between nature and mankind greatly influenced the way the emperors dictated the country (Hou 484). This respectful attitude towards nature was also seen when regulations were passed to protect certain landscapes from human harm—“they saw to it certain species were preserved… Trees could only be cut by common people at certain times…even then certain areas could not be touched” (Tuan 183). For nearly two thousand years, policies that were protective towards the environment were the guiding principles that prevented people from exploiting and 1
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This note was uploaded on 12/10/2009 for the course -2 FSA taught by Professor Yehuda during the Spring '09 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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Second essay revis - Li 1 Jennifer Li Peter Lavelle...

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