The Xisha Islands in the South China Sea have long been rich and beautiful in natural resources. However, after the author’s recent visits to the islands, it was observed that the islands have seen a coral damage and a loss of biodiversity. Meanwhile, the marine life and mineral deposits have been plundered for material gains. Preserving the beauty and landscape services of the islands should be the most important to their future, rather than economic benefits. Nurturing love and the Beautiful China dream on these islands will worth more than developing industries such as fishing and marine ranching.
Bamei, Yunnan is probably the last remaining “Peach Blossom Spring” in China, where rich fields and beautiful ponds are surrounded by mountains accessed only by boat, and people there live in peace and contentment. Although this is its reputation, when I last visited, it had changed beyond recognition. The reason may be that interest-driven developers and engineering companies have pursued local development, erasing so-called “economic benefits.” The pursuit of economic interests alone should not be blamed. Rather, understanding ecology and beauty together is the guarantee of further and greater economic benefits.
Local peasants have created unbelievably magnificent terraced landscapes using simple tools through cultivation, self-sufficiency, water conservation, and awe for the God of Earth. Before large machinery became the standard for industrial civilizations, the landscape had been shaped using only simple tools and had lasted for over thousands of years. This was benefited from simple technologies that maintained a harmonious relationship with the land, even if it was forced to. Industrial civilization, however, has created an antagonistic relationship between humans and land, brought about by consumerism. The excessive use of industrial machinery has also caused irreversible harm to the land. If these conditions are not changed, the landscape — an objective presentation of subjective thinking — will surely move beyond redemption.