See here both academic and news articles published in English, concerning Ecological Civilization. See also our News section for additional related content. 

National Parks as the materialized imaginary of ecological civilization in China
Jichuan Sheng and Qian Cheng
Environmental Science & Policy
Volume 152, Feb 2024
Through the case of the Three-River-Source National Park, this study mobilizes the concept of sociotechnical imaginaries to scrutinize how China’s ecological civilization as an application of sustainable imaginaries is materialized into national parks. Drawing on the extensive literature of science and technology studies that conceptualizes sociotechnical imaginaries as a vision of an ideal future, this study opens the perspective on the complex relationship between sustainable imaginaries and national parks. By combining content analysis of Chinese policies with semi-structured interviews, this study highlights translation and coordination as the most critical elements in realizing the materialization of ecological civilization. Furthermore, the ecological civilization mobilizes various policy instruments to materialize the national park as its materialized imaginary. Finally, the ecological civilization has shaped China’s specific discourse on sustainable development and has been put into practice through national parks.

Ecological Civilization, Organic-process Thinking and the Future of China in the Global Context
Zhihe Wang, Meijun Fan, and Junfeng Wang
Ecopoiesis: Eco-Human Theory and Practice 
Volume 5, Issue 1, 2024
In a joint article by the Director of the Institute for Postmodern Development of China, Co-Director of the China Project, Center for Process, Zhihe Wang and colleagues, Meijun Fan and Junfeng Wang, describe their vision of Chinese prospects for creating ecological civilization. Recognizing not only the significant economic achievements of modern China, but also the seriousness of its environmental problems, the authors believe that the creation of an ecological civilization is the most hopeful scenario for coping with the environmental crisis. They emphasize the great value of the traditional philosophical systems of Chinese culture (Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism), which make it possible to use them for the development of so-called organic process thinking as being the most consistent with the concept of ecological civilization.

Reframing Global Citizenship: What’s Next for the Global Movement? | The Eco-Civilization Framework
Jeremy Lent
Kosmos Journal
Volume 24, Issue 1, 2024
This short article by Jeremy Lent argues for applying the concept of reciprocal causality from ecology to a global citizens movement for positive change, an Ecological Civilization Coalition. He proposes this network as a plan for shifting the Overton window from the space it currently occupies in a system dominated by neoliberal thinking to include the idea of an Ecological Civilization. Lent’s proposed coalition would be governed by sociocratic principles and be heterarchical rather than hierarchical.

Global ecological civilization: An analysis of macro-level policies of the Belt and Road Initiative
Qingge Geng and Kevin Lo
Research in Globalization
Volume 7, December 2023
This article, by a pair of scholars from Hong Kong, takes a comprehensive and critical approach to the application of ecological civilization to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The abstract states: “The evidence suggests that the objectives and schemes of the Belt and Road Initiative represent a distinct interpretation of ecological civilization in comparison to its domestic version, with a heavy emphasis on developmentalism, free trade, and voluntary environmentalism but remain ambiguous about ideas such as eco-socialism, state control, and human-nature harmony.” The article raises concerns about eco-imperialism, defined as “strong and dominating nations using their superior political-economic power to impose their own environmental values and technologies on weaker nations (Mushkat, 2003).”

Understanding ecological civilization in China: From political context to science
Bing Xue, Bin Han, Hongqing Li, Xiaohua Gou, Hong Yang, Heiko Thomas, and Stefan Stückrad
Ambio (Special Section: Ecological Civilization)
Volume 52, Issue 12, pp. 1895-1909, December 2023
Abstract: “China’s concept of “ecological civilization” can be understood as a new system of development and governance based on the perspective of political decision-making. Environmental management, ecological restoration, and green development are its primary principles—distinctly different from industrial and agricultural-oriented civilizations. In this paper, we evaluate the evolution of political connotations of the ecological civilization concept in China over the past 15 years through a textual analysis approach. Additionally, we systematically outline an ecological civilization indicator system and analyze its evolutionary process, applicable scales, and role in guiding the implementation of the ecological civilization concept. Eco-civilization demonstration sites and experiences are also discussed, followed by a review of academic research and policy-making responses. Finally, we propose different perspectives on the outlook for the future of ecological civilization development in China.” 

Is Ecological Civilization our Common Hope?
Simeiqi He
Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church
November 1, 2023
Pope Francis recently released two Apostolic Exhortations, “Laudate Deum” and “C'est La Confiance,” urging global action on climate change. He emphasizes the interconnectedness of humanity and the environment, calling for ethical decision-making and multilateral cooperation. The article also discusses the concept of ecological civilization, originating in China, which aligns with Pope Francis' vision of integral ecology. It concludes by highlighting a shared hope for a better future rooted in trust in divine mercy and love, exemplified by St. Therese of Lisieux.

An Ecological Civilization is the renaissance we’ve been waiting for
Spencer Scott
One Earth
September 27, 2023
According to their mission webpage, “One Earth is a nonprofit organization working to accelerate collective action to solve the climate crisis through groundbreaking science, inspiring media, and an innovative approach to climate philanthropy.” This article, written by the organization’s Science Program Manager, cites Jeremy Lent, Janine Benyus, Roy Morrison and Jiahua Pan in outlining six ingredients for ecological civilization. These ingredients consist of Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency; Sustainable Urbanization; Sustainable Industry & Consumption; Ecological Abundance, Biodiversity, and Resilience; Ecological Institutions; and Equitable Distribution of Power and Resources. This article outlines, from a Western nonprofit’s perspective, the global implications of an Ecological Civilization paradigm shift, much in line with some ideas in Clayton and Schwartz’ book.

Ecological Civilization in the making: the ‘construction’ of China’s climate-forestry nexus
Niklas Werner Weins, Annah Lake Zhu, Jin Qian, Fabiana Barbi Seleguim, and Leila da Costa Ferreira
Environmental Sociology
Volume 9, Issue 1, 2023
This article was written by a team of researchers at the Environmental Policy Group of the Netherlands’ “Wageningen University & Research.” This article showcases China’s globally emerging paradigm of Eco-Civilization and its implications for the climate-forestry nexus. The researchers argue that Eco-Civilization affords a strong role for the central state in actively building and constructing an ecological future in which the natural and the socio-political are not considered separate. This is in contrast to certain Western visions of preserving nature from human encroachment through grassroots environmental movements. The researchers argue as well that Chinese environmental philosophy and reforestation efforts are distinct from Western approaches and symbolize a kind of national pride and identity for China.

Knowledge and Understanding of Ecological Civilization: A Chinese Perspective
Jun Yan and Vladimir Bocharnikov
BRICS Journal of Economics
Issue 3, Number 4, pp. 231-247, December 23, 2022
This article, by a pair of scholars from China and Russia, takes a positive and uncritical perspective towards Chinese Ecological Civilization philosophy and practice. “In this paper, the authors analyze China’s Ecological Civilization from the historical point of view, explain the conceptual framework of China’ Ecological Civilization Thoughts and describe the primary steps of China’s ecological civilization development.” The article traces the history of EcoCiv thought from Marxism/socialism and provides a good overview of the philosophical and political history of EcoCiv in China, as well as specific initiatives of its implementation. The article also summarizes some key aspects of Xi Jinping Thought on EcoCiv; the authors are very optimistic about Xi Jinping Thought and the future of China with respect to EcoCiv. 

Ecological Civilization
Donald Worster
Springs: The Rachel Carson Center Review
Issue 2, December 2022
Donald Worster is an American environmental historian who was, until his retirement, the Hall Distinguished Professor of American History at the University of Kansas. He is one of the founders of, and leading figures in, the field of environmental history. In this article, Worster argues that the “imaginary” of Ecological Civilization emerged as an alternative to both capitalism and communism, as it emerges from the natural sciences. Worster acknowledges that the philosophical underpinnings of ecociv in China began with environmental minister Pan Yue. However, he also provides a seldom acknowledged lineage of thought for the paradigm, tracing critiques of modernism from the early decades of the twentieth century. Citing philosophers of the Frankfurt School, in particular Hans Jonas, Iring Fetscher, and others, Worster argues that Chinese proponents of ecological civilization have ignored the strain of “anti-Machine” non-dual philosophy in the West that has long critiqued the excesses of modernism. Worster also explores the Chinese roots of nondualism and nature-affirmation in the tradition of Daoism, ultimately proposing that Western thinkers who critique modernist technological society and Chinese traditionalists can learn from one another in the cultivation of a common ecociv ethic. 

Ecological Civilization, Ecological Revolution: An Ecological Marxist Perspective
John Bellamy Foster
Monthly Review
Volume 74, Number 5, October 2022
John Bellamy Foster is editor of the socialist publication Monthly Review and professor of sociology at the University of Oregon. This article is adapted from a talk held soon after the Fifteenth International Conference on Ecological Civilization in 2022. Presenting what he calls an “Ecological Marxist perspective”, Foster seeks to integrate ecological civilization with ecological Marxim. Foster contrasts his viewpoint from that of Jeremy Lent who traces ecological civilization to historical Chinese traditions and views Chinese Marxism as a modernist aberration. Foster argues, rather, that ecociv is a natural outgrowth of Marxism, articulated first by Marx and Engels and later taken up by Soviet ecologists. Foster writes, “It is no accident that the notion of ecological civilization first appeared in the 1980s in the Soviet Union and that it is being implemented as a guiding principle and central project in China, while it is scarcely discussed elsewhere in the world.” Foster in addition offers a blistering and well-articulated critique of capitalism’s capacity to respond to the environmental crisis.

Ecological Civilization: Why it is necessary and how we can create it
Roy Morrison
October 1, 2022
Roy Morrison is the Founding Director of the Office for Sustainability SNHU. This article for Meer magazine provides a general overview of the need for Ecological Civilization for a general audience. Critical of unfettered capitalism and industrialization, Morrison lays out a vision for an alternative economic paradigm based on ecological principles and sustainability. He writes, “Businesses will still pursue wealth and profit but are conditioned by clear market signals that make sustainable goods and services cheaper, gain market share and become more profitable. This, of course, means not just new market rules, but a supporting framework of law, regulation, social values and ethics, and ecological accounting and valuation.”

Can China’s ecological civilization strike a balance between economic benefits and green efficiency? A preliminary province-based quasi-natural experiment
Yushan Li, Baoliu Liu, Pu Zhao, Lin Peng, Zhilin Luo
Frontiers in Psychology
Volume 13, October 2022
This article was written for the international peer-reviewed journal “Frontiers in Psychology” by a team of scholars led by Yushan Li of the Research Institute for Eco-Civilization in Beijing. The authors present a comprehensive study of China’s “pilot ecological civilization zones” using data from 30 provinces in Mainland China from 2005 to 2020. The authors conclude that these initiatives have had a significant impact on regional green total factor production, an economic measure of how efficiently labor and capital are used. Also, these initiatives can increase green innovation through R&D. Based on these conclusions, the authors advocate for the encouragement and enhancement of ecological civilization developmental models in these provinces, as well as non-pilot provinces. 

Haewon-sangsaeng, Chinese Harmonism and Ecological Civilization
Zhihe Wang
Journal of Daesoon Thought and the Religions of East Asia
Volume 2, Issue 1, pp. 31-56., September 2022
This article, by process scholar Zhihe Wang, explores ecological civilization as it pertains to the thought of Daesoon Jinrihoe, an indigenous Korean religion that emerged in the early 20th century. The author works with the concept of Haewon-sangsaeng, a foundational principle within the religion, which refers to the resolution of grudges and grievances and a recognition of the interconnectedness of life on earth. Wang links this idea to that of Chinese Harmonism, “a uniquely harmony-oriented Chinese approach to the relationships between different cultures, religions, and people.” This article argues that Haewon-sangsaeng not only applies to human-human relations, but also humanity’s relationship with nature. Wang proposes that the project of building an ecological civilization is the natural outgrowth of Haewon-sangsaeng.

China Planet: Ecological Civilization and Global Climate Governance
Yifei Li and Judith Shapiro
Issues in Science and Technology
Volume 38, Number 4, pp. 49-53, Summer 2022
Yi and Shapiro are co-authors of China Goes Green: Coercive Environmentalism for a Troubled Planet (Polity, 2020). Yi is a professor at NYU Shanghai and Shapiro at American University. This article was written for Issues in Science and Technology, a journal published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and Arizona State University. Shapiro and Yi offer a critical approach to both what they see as the technocratic, top-down, authoritarian policies of China as it seeks to build an ecological civilization, as well as the mainstream international community that has largely praised their efforts. The authors argue that observers should look with skepticism on China’s data-driven and technology-based approach, which ignores human rights abuses and can tend towards greenwashing. They urge democracies to be cautious in implementing such top-down, infrastructure-based approaches because of their seeming incompatibility with democratic society.

China's imaginary of ecological civilization: A resonance between the state-led discourse and sociocultural dynamics
Ping Huang and Linda Westman
Energy Research & Social Science
Volume 81, November 2021
The field of science, technology and society (STS) calls for greater geographical diversity that draws attention to ‘the rich mosaic of non-Western cultures.’ This perspective provides cultural insights into the construction of the imaginary of ecological civilization in China. From the lens of sociotechnical theory, this perspective presents the discourses and practices constitutive of ecological civilization. We argue that ecological civilization operates as an imaginary that builds on both state-led environmental narratives and sociocultural traditions. In particular, the Chinese perception of human-nature relationships, represented by the principle of “Unity of Man and Nature,” constitutes a key cultural feature in the collective vision of a desirable life of Chinese people. The perspective piece shows how sociocultural roots might mediate or antagonize relations between national and community aspirations. Moreover, ecological civilization extends beyond any single sector or technology, and the unified diversity projected by the imaginary is a co-production of local knowledge with the normativity embedded in ecological civilization.

Analysis: Nine key moments that changed China’s mind about climate change
October 25, 2021
This article provides historical context and explanation of a number of crucial milestones in the timeline of China's shift in environmental policy, starting in 2003. It also lists what the author believes are the three main reasons why China’s stance on climate change has dramatically shifted.

'Ecological civilisation’: an empty slogan or will China act on the environment?
Patrick Greenfield and Vincent Ni
The Guardian
October 16, 2021
This brief article, written by reporters at the Guardian in 2021, looks at ecological civilization as it began to enter the international stage in the leadup to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s Cop15. The authors discuss various environmental initiatives by China, including the creation of a national park system and the decision to end financing for coal-fired power plants. They include perspectives of critics skeptical of China’s sincerity in this program as well as their rising power in the international stage, but ultimately acknowledge the significance of ecological civilization as core to Beijing’s commitments.

Feature: Xi's Thought on Ecological Civilization inspires world to build harmony among all beings
Xinhua News
October 9, 2021
This article from China’s state news outlet Xinhua promotes with great praise Xi Jinping and China’s Ecological Civilization initiatives, highlighting reforestation efforts and green infrastructure abroad. 

Understanding ‘Ecological Civilization’ According to China
Stephanie Monjean, Lea Boudinet, and Clemence Pelegrín
GREEN (Geopolitique, Reseau, Energie, Environnement, Nature)
Issue 1, September 2021
This article serves as the introduction to the inaugural issue of GREEN Journal, “China’s Ecological Power.” In the article, the authors highlight the significance of China’s commitment to carbon neutrality and include skepticism regarding China’s motivations, namely an increase in economic power by investing in and exporting green technologies. The third section of the journal (p. 106-150) focuses on the question of China’s ambitions towards “ecological civilization” in the context of Chinese authoritarianism. These individual articles may be worth visiting on their own. 

Ecological civilization: a revived perspective on the relationship between humanity and nature
Keping Ma and Fuwen Wei
National Science Review
Volume 8, Issue 7, July 2021
This article by Ma and Wei is the guest editorial for the National Science Review’s special topic issue, “Ecological Civilization: Insights Into Humans and Nature.” The National Science Review is a Chinese journal aimed at advances in science and technology. The editorial anticipates several upcoming international meetings pertaining to biodiversity conservation in 2021. The authors lay out the ways in which China is acting to meet the SDG’s and promote conservation domestically, presenting the Middle Kingdom as a global leader in ecological civilization building.

Ecological civilization: China's effort to build a shared future for all life on Earth
Fuwen Wei, Shuhong Cui, et al.
National Science Review
Volume 8, Issue 7, July 2021
This article anticipates the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15 held in 2022. The convention was to adopt a new Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) for the next decade and beyond. The authors present here the philosophical underpinnings of ecological civilization, as well as sustainable development. They then present various accomplishments of EC in China, particularly highlighting afforestation, biodiversity conservation, and green development. The authors share lessons learned that could benefit other nations, including redefining the relationship between humanity and nature, and encourage further research.

Ecological Civilization: What is it and Why it Should be the Goal of Humanity
Arran Gare
Culture della Sostenibilite  (Culture of Sustainability)
Volume 27, pp. 8-23, July 2021
This article was written for the Italy based journal, Culture della Sostenibilite  (Culture of Sustainability). The author is Arran Gare, Australian professor and author of the book The Philosophical Foundations of Ecological Civilization (2016). This article primarily seeks to provide a broader context for understanding the movement for ecological civilization in China. It provides a highly useful and comprehensive tracing of the development of socialist ecological civilization philosophy, incorporating influences weaving throughout Europe, the Soviet Union, China, and the United States, primarily throughout the twentieth century. Gare is openly critical of capitalism. Gare acknowledges the possibility of Chinese elites using the banner of ecological civilization for power and wealth; however, he believes in the mission of Pan Yue and his allies to build a “global eco-socialist system based on justice.”

Ecological Civilization: From Emergency to Emergence
David Korten
May 25, 2021
David Korten is a former professor of economics and member of the Club of Rome. This article is promoted on the EcoCiv website, indicating its status as essential reading. Korten’s vision for ecociv primarily consists of an economic critique, particularly of the current model that he terms “ego-nomics,” within which multinational corporations and the wealthy elite control political power and hoard resources, while the remainder of society exists within an oppressive economic caste system. Korten’s vision involves a reimagining of economic systems to recognize humanity’s interdependence and return to an ethic of promoting the greater good. Korten seeks to reclaim the “eco” in “eco-nomics” through his alternative proposals.

What Does An Ecological Civilization Look Like?
Jeremy Lent
Yes! Magazine
Spring 2021
Jeremy Lent is an author, founder of the Liology institute, and an active participant in the EcoCiv movement in the US. In this article, he lists a series of principles inspired by ecology which human civilization might adopt to rejoin the natural world: diversity, balance, fractal organization, life cycles, subsidiarity, and symbiosis. Lent’s vision for structuring human society on an ecological basis draws on the insights of the world’s philosophical and religious traditions which all recognize the deep interconnectedness of all things. 

Land Use and Ecological Civilization: A Collection of Empirical Studies
Xie Hualin and Chen Qianru
Journal of Resources and Ecology
Volume 12, Issue 2, pp. 137-142 , March 12, 2021
The authors are both scholars at the Institute of Ecological Civilization, Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, Nanchang, China. Their article analyzes land use management in China from the perspective of ecological civilization, in light of ecological destruction and pollution. The paper analyzes land use efficiency, land use change, land multi-functional trade-off, ecological risks of land use, and land ecosystem services. The authors propose five topics for future research: “ecological management of land use structure, ecological evolution of land use process, ecological model of land use, early warning and regulation of land ecological security patterns, and ecological management and control of land use behavior.”

The Eco-socialist Roots of Ecological Civilisation
Arran Gare
Capitalism Nature Socialism
Volume 32, Issue 1, pp. 37-55, March 1, 2021
In this article, Gare argues that ecological civilization has deep roots in the tradition of eco-socialism, particularly from the Russian notion of ecological culture, which originated in the 1920s. Gare proposes that “a socialist ecological civilisation that should be developed globally and transform every part of society, changing the way people perceive, live and relate to each other and to nature, and the goals they aspire to.” Gare traces this history and argues that ecological civilization adds a critical piece to socialist thought and provides the means by which it might replace global capitalism.

Developing Socialist Ecological Civilization with Chinese Characteristics
Yue Pan 
In Beautiful China: 70 Years Since 1949 and 70 People’s Views on Eco-civilization Construction, Pan, J., Gao, S., Li, Q., Wang, J., Wu, D., Huang, C. Eds.
Springer Singapore, 2021
As the world is going through profound changes never seen in a century, the human civilization is also switching from industrial civilization to ecological civilization. Upholding the basic governance philosophy of ecological civilization and guided by the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, especially the Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization, the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core has materialized historic, epochal and all-round changes in China’s ecological civilization by promoting the green initiative of building a beautiful China.

Ecological Civilization and Dispute Resolution in the BRI
Peter Corne and Vivian Zhu
Chinese Journal of Environmental Law
Volume 4, Issue 2, pp. 200-216, December 2020
This article was written by two Shanghai-based lawyers who argue for implementing legal processes compatible with the principles of maintaining harmony within society and harmonious coexistence with nature, implicit within the philosophy of ecological civilization. This article argues that intrinsic to the concept of ecological civilization is its incorporation of a broad set of culturally derived norms and customs that represent an inclusive approach to cultural and ecological diversity. The article advocates the adoption of mediation along the Belt and Road as the primary or ‘first line’ dispute resolution tool, with a third party neutral acting as a mediator. The article maintains that as a ‘second line’ or alternatively ‘parallel line’ of dispute resolution, arbitration will continue to be critically important for BRI disputes, so measures that will oblige arbitrators to incorporate ecological principles into their deliberations are also recommended.

Ecological Civilization: A new development paradigm
Pan Jiahua and Yang Xinran
China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development
July 13, 2020
This online article explains the paradigm of ecological civilization from the perspective of one of China’s foremost experts on the topic. Jiahua explains the key elements: justice is the necessary foundation of ecological civilization, efficiency is the means to realizing ecological civilization, harmony is the external reflection of ecological civilization, and cultural development is the ultimate objective of ecological civilization. Ecological Civilization is contrasted with Industrial Civilization. The article provides a helpful summary of Chinese philosophy on Ecological Civilization.

The Chinese Path to an Ecological Civilization
Ju Li
Qiushi Journal (English edition), April/May 2020
(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No. 21, 2019)
An excellent overview of major events and speeches in China toward ecological civilization and environmental consciousness. 

Ecological Civilization in the People’s Republic of China: Values, Action, and Future Needs
Arthur Hanson
Asian Development Bank: East Asian Working Papers Series
Number 21, December 2019
Arthur Hanson is a Distinguished Fellow, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), and former International Chief Advisor, China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED). Ecological civilization is being used by the People’s Republic of China to provide a coherent conceptual framework for adjustments to development that meets 21st century challenges. This paper focuses on three aspects of ecological civilization: its significance as a concept, the challenges for applying it widely as a catalyst for reform and progress, and the strategic opportunities for its use in transformative change toward a new relationship between people and nature. In addition, it explores the potential value and roles of ecological civilization beyond the PRC.

Seeking Philosophical Foundations for Ecological Civilization: Natural Theology East and West
Yih-hsien Yu
Annals of Bioethics & Clinical Applications
Volume 2, Issue 1 , December 31, 2019
Abstract: The chief purposes of the present paper are twofold. One is to maintain that underlying the breakdown of the bioecological system conducive to the increasing environmental crises threatening the sustainable existence of both mankind and nature, has been a breakdown of the psycho-ecological (or spiritual ecological) system that was featured by the prevalence of scientism and waning of humanity. The other is to suggest that the restoration of the traditions of Natural Theology in China based on Shangshu and Yijing and Natural Theology in the West taught by Aristotle, Aquinas, and A.N. Whitehead, serve for the philosophical foundation for the coming of ecological civilization. 

Daoism and the Project of an Ecological Civilization
Martin Schoenfeld and Xia Chen
Religions 10, no. 11 (November 2019): e630
Abstract: For China today, environmentalism is central. The socialist doctrine of “Xi Jinping Thought” prioritizes transitioning to sustainability in the goal of building an “Ecological Civilization”. This creates unprecedented opportunities for Daoist practitioners to engage in state-coordinated activism (part 1). We show how the science of the planetary crisis (part 2) resonates with Daoist values (part 3), how these values integrate in national policy goals (part 4), and how this religious environmental activism plays out in case studies (part 5).

UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC)
September 2019
This is an official announcement from the UNEP website presenting the upcoming 2020 UN Biodiversity Conference., themed “Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth.”

China’s Ecological Civilization: Our Common Great Opportunity
Zhihe Wang
Open Horizons (originally published in the New York Times)
January 31, 2019
This article introduces an uninitiated reader to the idea of ecociv and its prominence in China. He discusses John Cobb’s efforts and experiences in China to promote ecological civilization. Wang argues hopefully for the congruence between Process thought and traditional Chinese beliefs to create an ecological civilization. Wang discusses as well the conditions that led to China’s embrace of modernity and the effect of environmental and social problems. In addition, he discusses the reasons why China is well-positioned to adopt and implement ecological civilization.

Main Contents of Xi Jinping’s Thought on Ecological Civilization
Hongwei Li
Chinese Journal of Urban and Environmental Studies
7, no. 2 (2019)
Xi Jinping's thought on ecological civilization embodies a holistic approach to environmental stewardship, drawing from Marxist ecology, traditional Chinese wisdom, and Western sustainable development theories. Emphasizing the interconnectedness of humanity and nature, Xi advocates for respecting, conforming to, and protecting the environment. His Two-Mountain Theory seeks harmony between economic development and ecological preservation, prioritizing the well-being of people over short-term gains. Xi's governance philosophy underscores the importance of a comprehensive ecological governance system involving government leadership, corporate responsibility, and public participation. Furthermore, he stresses global cooperation in addressing environmental challenges, reaffirming China's commitment to international obligations and collaboration for a sustainable future. From: Xi, Jinping. “Secure a Decisive Victory in Building a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Respects and Strive for the Great Success of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.” Delivered at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. October 18, 2017. 

Narratives and Pathways towards an Ecological Civilization in Contemporary China
Sam Geall and Adrian Ely
China Quarterly
Volume 236, December 2018
Geal and Ely are researchers at the University of Sussex. Abstract: “This article explores key political narratives that have underpinned China's policies around sustainable development (kechixu fazhan) and innovation (chuangxin) within the context of broader narratives of reform. Drawing on theoretical insights from work that investigates the role of power in shaping narratives, knowledge and action around specific pathways to sustainability, this article explores the ways in which dominant policy narratives in China might drive particular forms of innovation for sustainability and potentially occlude or constrain others. In particular, we look at ecological civilization (shengtai wenming) as a slogan that has gradually evolved to become an official narrative and is likely to influence pathways to sustainability over the coming years.”

Ecological Civilisation and the Political Limits of a Chinese Concept of Sustainability
Coraline Goran
China Perspectives Special Issue: Power and Knowledge in 21st Century China: Producing Social Sciences
Volume 2018, Issue 4, pp. 39-52, December 31, 2018
This journal article by professor and scholar of environmental policy Coraline Goron. This article analyzes what ecological civilisation brings to the study of sustainability in China as well as globally, through an analysis of the relationship between knowledge and power that has underpinned its development. Based on a qualitative analysis of political documents and a comprehensive review of Chinese academic publications on EC, it unpacks the different layers of political and theoretical meanings that have been invested in the concept of EC over time by CCP ideologues and by scholars; and then analyzes the influence that EC has had on China’s sustainability research. It argues that the political discourse of EC has increasingly limited the way in which scholars engage critically with capitalism, democracy, and other elements of green political theory. However, it also shows that many Chinese scholars, while subscribing to the EC discourse, have continued to press for the development of their disciplinary contribution to the global scientific discussion on sustainability.

Ecological civilization: Interpreting the Chinese past, projecting the global future
Mette Halskov Hansen, Hongtao Li, and Rune Svarverud
Global Environmental Change
Volume 53, pp. 195-203, November 2018
Abstract: Ecological civilization (shengtai wenming ) has been written into China’s constitution as the ideological framework for the country’s environmental policies, laws and education. It is also increasingly presented not only as a response to environmental degradation in China, but as a vision for our global future. In this article, scholars from the disciplines of media science, anthropology and sinology analyse media representations of eco-civilization in order to explore which values and visions this highly profiled state project actually entails. The article argues that eco-civilization is best understood as a sociotechnical imaginary in which cultural and moral virtues constitute key components that are inseparable from the more well-known technological, judicial, and political goals. The imaginary of eco-civilization seeks to construct a sense of cultural and national continuity, and to place China at the center of the world by invoking its civilization’s more than 2000 years of traditional philosophical heritage as a part of the solution for the planet’s future. It is constructed as a new kind of Communist Party led utopia in which market economy and consumption continue to grow, and where technology and science have solved the basic problems of pollution and environmental degradation.

We need an ecological civilization before it’s too late
Jeremy Lent
Open Democracy
October 21, 2018
This article begins with an introduction to the climate crisis and critiques proposals by even liberal American politicians as insufficient. Lent argues that we must move from a civilization based on wealth production to one based on the health of living systems: an ecological civilization. This would be a radical reorganization of society requiring a fundamental shift of values and philosophy. He argues that this would be the only alternative to a global ecological collapse. Lent cites Raworth and Korten as those most in line with his vision for an alternative economic future. Similar content to Lent’s other articles listed here. 

China builds an ‘Ecological Civilization’ while the world burns
John Bachtell
People’s World
August 21, 2018
John Bachtell is president of Long View Publishing Co., the publisher of People's World, a progressive and socialist independent online news outlet. In this article, Bachtell presents China’s efforts towards ecological civilization as a hopeful sign in the midst of a worsening climate crisis. He tracks the history of Chinese industrialization, subsequent environmental pollution, and the rise of the Chinese environmental movement, eventually leading to the adoption of Ecological Marxism and Ecological Civilization as guiding principles for the Chinese government. Bachtell gives examples of the many ways in which China is prioritizing sustainable development, including ‘eco-cities’ and reforestation, in contrast to the relative inaction of many western nations. 

Research on Xi Jinping's Thought of Ecological Civilization and Environment Sustainable Development
Pan Xiang-chao
IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES)
Volume 153, Number 6, May 2018
This article by Chinese scholar Pan Xiang-chao, Professor at Mianyang Teachers' College, promotes Xi Jinping’s thought of ecological civilization as the best solution for addressing the environmental crises brought about by industrialization. Xiang-chao writes, “Sticking to Xi's Thought of Ecological Civilization is a fundamental guarantee for the sustainable development of [the] environment and building a new era of ecological civilization.”

What Does Xi Jinping’s New Phrase ‘Ecological Civilization’ Mean?
Heidi Wang-Kaeding
The Diplomat
March 6, 2018
Wang-Kaeding is a scholar of East Asian studies at Keele University. This article is written for The Diplomat, an international current-affairs magazine for the Asia-Pacific region. In this brief article, the author provides an introduction to the phrase ‘ecological civilization’ as adopted by the top policymakers of China, particularly Xi Jinping. The author weighs the varied international responses to China’s adoption of ‘ecological civilization’ as a guiding principle. In addition, she explores the ways in which ecological civilization is theoretically more compatible with commercial interests and growth than the predominant ideology of western liberal environmentalism.

What Does China’s ‘Ecological Civilization’ Mean for Humanity’s Future? 
Jeremy Lent
February 9, 2018
Jeremy Lent is an author writing here for Ecowatch, a digital environmental newspaper. In this brief article, Lent introduces the idea of ecological civilization as it has been promoted and pursued by the state of China. The author mentions the ways in which China is adopting environmentally friendly policies but also includes various critiques by scholars who are skeptical of China’s intentions and effectiveness. Lent has hope that the philosophical roots of human interconnectedness within Chinese culture have the potential to support a future ecological civilization.

Ecological Civilisation and the Political Limits of a Chinese Concept of Sustainability
Coraline Goron
China Perspectives 115, no. 4 (2018): 39-52
Since its endorsement by President Hu Jintao in 2007, ecological civilization (EC) has become a key component of the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) environmental agenda. This paper examines the theoretical basis of EC, suggesting it offers an alternative development paradigm capable of reshaping the global economy toward sustainability. Analyzing its circulation between political and academic spheres, it explores China's contribution to sustainable development discourse. While the CCP's promotion of EC may constrain critical engagement, many Chinese scholars advocate for advancing disciplinary knowledge within this framework.


China's new era of ecological civilization
Liangang Xiao and Rongqin Zhao
Volume 358, Issue 6366, pp. 1008-1009, November 24, 2017
This article in the journal Science is written by Xiao and Zhao of the School of Resources and Environment at the North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power in Zhengzhou, China. The article is only a few paragraphs but it conveys several important ideas, namely introducing Xi Jinping’s commitment to building an ecological civilization as written in his report to the 19th National Congress of the CCP, as well as introducing some challenges to effective implementation.

The Challenge of Creating ‘Ecological Civilization’ in China
Mary Evelyn Tucker
Yale School of the Environment
October 5, 2017
In this article, Mary Evelyn Tucker reflects on her recent participation in the Songshan Forum, an annual meeting in Dengfeng, Henan, China. She describes the ways in which modernization has negatively impacted the health of the Chinese people as well as the efforts towards moving towards ecological civilization. In particular, she draws attention to the sacred traditions of China - Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. Tucker is especially encouraged at the potential of Confucian ecological philosophy and environmental ethics to inform Chinese policy and collective consciousness.

Sustainability and Ecological Civilization in the Age of Anthropocene: An Epistemological Analysis of the Psychosocial and “Culturalist” Interpretations of Global Environmental Risks
Jean-Yves Heurtebise, 
Volume 9, Issue 8, August 1, 2017
Jean-Yves Heurtebise is a scholar at FuJen Catholic University in Taiwan. This article was published by MDPI in a special issue of the open-access journal Sustainability.
Abstract: “The aim of this article is to assess the validity of the culturalist explanation of unsustainability by critically examining the social–cultural interpretation of the risks on which it is epistemologically based. First, we will explore the different ways in which the notion of Anthropocene is changing our perception of risks. Second, we will analyze the limits of the social–cultural explanation of risks relative to the global (non-linear) interdependence between human activities and environmental processes that defines the Anthropocene. Third, we will introduce the Chinese concept of Ecological Civilization and analyze its cultural foundations and culturalist assumptions. Finally, we will develop the practical consequences of this critic of the social-cultural interpretation of risks and of culturalist explanations of unsustainability.”

Ecological Civilization
Zhu Guangyao
Our Planet
Volume 2016, Issue 1, pp. 26-29, June 2017
This article is written for UNEP's (UN Environment Programme) quarterly magazine Our Planet by Zhu Guangyao, the Executive Vice President of the Chinese Ecological Civilization Research and Promotion Association. The abstract states: “The Chinese government always attaches great importance to environmental protection, adopting a series of major measures in promoting sustainable development. Since the turn of the 21st century, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and the State Council have been vigorously progressing sustainable development from both theoretical and practical perspectives with remarkable achievements.”

China’s New Blueprint for an Ecological Civilization
Zhang Chun
The Diplomat
September 30, 2015
This article originally published by chinadialogue by journalist Zhang Chun introduces the reader to a set of wide-ranging ecological reforms China began launching in 2015, described as “the most authoritative reform proposal issued since Xi Jinping’s advocacy of the “ecological civilization” concept in 2007”. The article describes the scope of the reforms as well as some purported challenges to their implementation.

Interpreting ecological civilisation (part 1) (part 2) (part 3)
Sam Geall
China Dialogue
July 2015
Sam Geall, the current CEO of China Dialogue, presents a three part series on ecological civilization for the online publication. In section one, the author provides background on the idea of ecological civilization and the significance of a particular document, released April 25, 2015, entitled “Central Document Number 12:  Opinions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council on Further Promoting the Development of Ecological Civilization.” This document “systematically addresses the obstacles to effective policy by setting out standards, mechanisms and assessments that aim to improve implementation and realize the ambition it proclaims.” Part two of this series looks at the policy objectives and targets set out in the document and part three explains “the standards, mechanisms and assessment procedures that will guide Chinese cadres through transition to a cleaner China.”

The Ecological Civilization Debate in China: The Role of Ecological Marxism and Constructive Postmodernism–Beyond the Predicament of Legislation
Zhihe Wang, Huili He and Meijun Fan
Monthly Review
Volume 66, Number 6, pp. 37-59, November 2014
In this comprehensive article, the authors analyze the construction of ecological civilization in China through the lens of ecological Marxism and constructive postmodernism as guiding frameworks. Beginning by diagnosing the roots of the environmental crisis in China, the authors determine that legal frameworks aren’t sufficient in addressing the roots of the crisis. They explain the history of ecological Marxism and constructive postmodernism, positing that both offer valuable contributions to the creation of ecological civilization. Arguing that both worldviews are highly convergent with one another and with ecological civilization, the authors end on a hopeful note in creating ecological harmony.

China and the Struggle for Ecological Civilization
Arran Gare
Capitalism Nature Socialism
23, no. 4 (2012): 10-26
Arran Gare's article “China and the Struggle for Ecological Civilization” explores China's adoption of ecological civilization (EC) as a key component of its developmental strategy. Gare examines the political and theoretical dimensions of EC, tracing its endorsement by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since 2007 under President Hu Jintao. He argues that EC represents an alternative to the ecocidal global economic order, with potential to foster a global ecological transition. Gare analyzes the circulation of EC discourse between political and academic spheres, discussing its impact on sustainability research in China and globally. He notes how the promotion of EC by the CCP may constrain critical engagement with capitalism, democracy, and other aspects of green political theory, but also highlights the efforts of Chinese scholars to advance disciplinary contributions to the broader discourse on sustainability. Overall, the article sheds light on the complex relationship between knowledge, power, and China's role in shaping sustainable development narratives.


Ecological Civilization
Fred Magdoff
Monthly Review 
Volume 62, Number 8, pp. 1-25, January 2011
Fred Magdoff is professor emeritus of plant and soil science at the University of Vermont and serves as a director of the Monthly Review Foundation. In November 2010, Magdoff traveled to Shanghai to attend the Marxism and Ecological Civilization conference at Fudan University. This article is a revised version of the presentation he gave at that conference. In the article Magdoff discusses the following: “(1) the critical characteristics that underlie strong ecosystems; (2) why societies are not adequately implementing ecological approaches; and (3) how we might use characteristics of strong natural ecosystems as a framework to consider a future ecological civilization.”

Fixing the Hole in the Boat: The Radical Vision of Ecological Civilization
Wm. Andrew Schwartz
Open Horizons
In this short article, Schwartz encourages us to ask “why” to identify underlying causes for the world’s problems. He writes that 1. The world’s problems are interconnected and 2. The nature of the crisis is systemic. Schwartz introduces the reader to ecological civilization as a new concept. It contains many of the ideas which he expands upon in his book “What is Ecological Civilization.”

Five Foundations for an Ecological Civilization
John B. Cobb, Jr.
Open Horizons
In this short article, John Cobb lays out some foundational principles that undergird his vision for ecological civilization building. Cobb’s five foundations are “from individualism to community”, “from sense-bound empiricism to radical empiricism,” “from we/they thinking to world loyalty,” “from anthropocentrism to biophilia,”and “from conventional morality to counter-cultural morality.” He challenges the assumption that callings are individualized and encourages a collective calling to all humanity.

Jiang Sifan
Ideas for Peace
Jiang Sifan is a graduate of the University of Peace who studied sustainable economic development. This short article looks at China and ecological civilization. One tension noticed by Sifan is that of sustainability and industrialization leading to economic growth. This is happening in particular at the local level, where leaders of local governments may be more biased towards economic growth and prosperity. Jiang has hope in grassroots movements in China, particularly those led by young people. 

Ecological Civilization: The Vision
David Korten
David Korten is the president of the Living Economics Forum - (URL: This is the landing page for the “Ecological Civilization” section on his website. It has many links to other organizations and initiatives allied with the ecociv movement, including Earth Charter, China, Parliament of the World’s Religions, and the Claremont Conference in 2015. Korten briefly lays out his vision of the problem and the solution, which he later expands on in his paper “Ecological Civilization: From Emergency to Emergence”. His analysis is primarily a systemic one with a particular lens towards economic systems, namely corporations and governance. Relevant links are listed at the bottom of this page, though they are all from 2016 or prior.

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