Ecological Civilization

Ecological Civilization is a term that emerged 30 years ago in China and is now being discussed in the West. A key goal of Ecological Civilization in China is: Moving from an industrial society with unlimited economic growth that is destroying land, air, and water to an ecological civilization that provides a basis for the well-being and health of both people and the planet. Many individuals and groups in China are trying to find the next stage beyond rapid industrialization and unsustainable development, which has brought massive economic growth, but has also caused widespread biodiversity loss, climate upheavals, and intense pollution with public health consequences. Similar efforts are being made in Western countries under the rubric of sustainability.

This implies a paradigm shift toward an ecocentric worldview, rather than an anthropocentric worldview. This involves drawing on philosophical and religious traditions for shaping a broader environmental ethics and transformative action. This was the assumption of the 10 Harvard conferences and books on World Religions and Ecology (1996-2007). The Chinese are reviving their own traditions of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism for ecological ethics. Ecological Civilization is having traction on many levels of Chinese society, especially in education. Its implications and its efficacy can be explored more fully in environmental policy, law, and NGO work. Building and implementing ecological civilization in a systemic and practical manner has been discussed for several decades and is in the Chinese Constitution since 2018.

This website, then, is a platform for gathering materials on Ecological Civilization (EcoCiv) in China and the West. Like many comprehensive ideas, this is filled with complexity and ambiguity. However, it is our assumption that this aspiration is a vital component of responding to social and ecological challenges. For in addition to environmental science, policy, law, economics, and technology a robust shift of values and culture is needed for systemic long-term changes. We acknowledge the work of many people in this area in China and in the West. This includes Pan Yue who published an article in 2006 titled “On Socialist Ecological Civilization,” which helped to establish the foundations for this idea. Pan was Vice-Minister of State Environmental Protection Administration from 2003-2016. Since 2022 he is director of National Ethnic Affairs Commission (NEAC).

In the West over the last 17 years there have been conferences on Ecological Civilization at Claremont Colleges in California. These were convened by the Whitehead-inspired Center for Process Studies (CPS) and the Institute for Postmodern Development of China (IPDC) under the leadership of John Cobb, David Ray Griffin, Zhihe Wang, Meijun Fan, and Philip Clayton. Zhihe Wang has helped to establish some 36 Centers for Process Studies and Constructive Postmodern Philosophy at Chinese Universities. In 2015, Philip Clayton and Andrew Schwartz co-founded the Institute for Ecological Civilization (Eco-Civ). We acknowledge the leadership of these process philosophers and draw attention to their valuable work in China, as well the EcoCiv website, books, and projects. EcoCiv Korea and Hanshin University are leading a similar movement in Korea. Many people in the West are finding ecological civilization to be an important framework for the systemic transformations needed for a flourishing future. This includes David Korten, Jeremy Lent, and the executive director of the Earth Charter International, Mirian Vilela.

Reports & Statements
Here you'll find official reports from UNEP and the Club of Rome, as well as official statements by Chinese President Xi Jinping. 


In this section are full-length volumes on or related to the concept and practice of Ecological Civilization, which date from 2014 to the present. There is also a separate section for the “Toward Ecological Civilization” series from Process Century Press. 
Here you'll find both academic and news articles published in English, concerning Ecological Civilization, which date from 2011 to the present.

A sampling of videos related to Ecological Civilization can be found here, as well as featured playlists aligned with this topic. 


Here you will find information on the journals in the field (published in English) that are talking about themes related to Ecological Civilization, whether ongoing or just a special issue. 


This listing provides links to a variety of organizations and websites related to Ecological Civilization for further exploration  

Featured Video

East and West Dialogue on Ecological Civilization
Mary Evelyn Tucker, Jinfeng Zhou, Zhihe Wang, Julia Kim
Earth Charter International
February 6, 2024

Earth Charter International hosted a webinar on “East and West Dialogue on Ecological Civilization” on February 6. The event featured Mary Evelyn Tucker, Jinfeng Zhou, Zhihe Wang, and Julia Kim. Amanda Bennett and Sifan Jiang moderated. In this webinar we continued the conversation tackling the following questions: What does an Ecological Civilization look like? What are some good examples paving the way towards this vision and how can we scale up these efforts? What are some additional paths and driving forces to building these just, sustainable and peaceful societies?

Header photo: Wanquan River Upstream and Reservoir Facilities, National Ecological Civilization Pilot Zone in Hainan Province, China; Shutterstock/DreamArchitect