Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

China Bulldozes Mountains to Expand Cities

China Bulldozes Mountains to Expand Cities

Between its massive population and booming economic growth, it’s no surprise that China is experiencing a shortage of land. What is surprising, however, is how China is handling the situation. The country is opting to literally decimate mountains in order to clear more space. Mountains—particularly those adjacent to urban areas—are being leveled to enable construction on the newly flattened terrain.

To accommodate its explosive population, China has taken to bulldozing mountains that surround some cities. Photo credit: Flickr/ ILYA

Obviously, obliterating mountains is not an easy, cheap or quick undertaking. Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped the Chinese people from rushing to take down the mountains. There’s a reason that “moving mountains” is an expression that connotes a near-impossible feat. However, teams with no experience in mountaintop removal have helmed these projects, thereby practically ensuring that major mistakes will be made.

While it seems like an ecological disaster in itself to alter the landscape by getting rid of mountains, the environmental consequences go well beyond aesthetic changes. The destruction of mountains has already caused dangerous and unanticipated landslides and flooding. Once reliable water sources have been both polluted and diverted due to the change in landscape, too. Plus, as if the sky in China weren’t dingy and unhealthy enough from pollution, now the air is literally brown from the dust that is rustled up.

 

Mountain demolishing began in the city of Yan’an months before any research on the environment was conducted. Belatedly, experts discovered that the area’s mountains were comprised of “thick, million-year-old deposits of windblown silt.” As a result, this surface is unsound for constructing buildings upon; whether people will choose to build on this unsafe ground anyway is not as clear-cut, sadly.

Thus far, the government has faced criticism for prioritizing immediate economic development over enforcing environmental regulations. In the meantime, animals are threatened, habitats are lost and several creeks have disappeared altogether.

It is also reasonable to expect that nearby residents will suffer health consequences. About 20 percent of China’s citizens live in mountainous locales. American research found that those living near mountaintop removal sites developed cancer at significantly higher rates.

While Nature, an international weekly journal of science, is fretting these projects for many of the aforementioned reasons, it is further troubled by the fact that workers aren’t even putting in minimal efforts to avoid exacerbating the problems. Laborers have been told to wet the dirt in order to minimize air pollution, but even that simple directive is often ignored.

Unfortunately, because this sort of mountain removal is unprecedented, experts can only guess at the kind of long-term repercussions the Chinese environment will experience. Given all of the immediate consequences the local human and wildlife populations have already suffered, however, it’s difficult to imagine that this plan is the right way to go about creating more space for buildings.

--------

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

China Coal Cap Could Strand Assets Around the World

Chinese Army Bans All GMO Grains and Oils

Can the World Feed China?

--------

Former U.S. Sec. of Energy Ernest Moniz listens during the National Clean Energy Summit 9.0 on October 13, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Isaac Brekken / Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit

By Jake Johnson

Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Climate change can evoke intense feelings, but a conversational approach can help. Reed Kaestner / Getty Images

Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.

"It's easy to feel dwarfed in the context of such a global systemic issue," says psychologist Renée Lertzman.

She says that when people experience these feelings, they often shut down and push information away. So to encourage climate action, she advises not bombarding people with frightening facts.

"When we lead with information, we are actually unwittingly walking right into a situation that is set up to undermine our efforts," she says.

She says if you want to engage people on the topic, take a compassionate approach. Ask people what they know and want to learn. Then have a conversation.

This conversational approach may seem at odds with the urgency of the issue, but Lertzman says it can get results faster.

"When we take a compassion-based approach, we are actively disarming defenses so that people are actually more willing and able to respond and engage quicker," she says. "And we don't have time right now to mess around, and so I do actually come to this topic with a sense of urgency… We do not have time to not take this approach."

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

Trending

A rare North Atlantic right whale is seen off Cape Cod Bay on April 14, 2019 near Provincetown, Massachusetts. Don Emmert / AFP / Getty Images

An extremely rare North Atlantic right whale calf was found dead off the North Carolina coast on Friday.

Read More Show Less
Sprinklers irrigate a field of onions near a Castilian village in Spain. According to a new study, the average farm size in the EU has almost doubled since the 1960s. miguelangelortega / Moment / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

A new report released Tuesday details the "shocking" state of global land equality, saying the problem is worse than thought, rising, and "cannot be ignored."

Read More Show Less
Members of the San Carlos Apache Nation protest to protect parts of Oak Flat from a copper mining company on July 22, 2015 in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images

In yet another attack on the environment before leaving office, the Trump administration is seeking to transfer ownership of San Carlos Apache holy ground in Oak Flat, Arizona, to a copper mining company.

Read More Show Less