Table of Contents
- Which Are the Opposing Arguments between the Chinese State and the Tibetan Exiles Regarding the Environment?
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- Does the Way Men Use Nature in the Lhalu Wetland in the Pre-PRC Era Represent a Harmonious Relationship between Men and Nature?
- What Were the Major Changes in the Lahlu Wetland during the 1980s and 1990s?
- Which Were the New Wetland Reserve Projects in the 2000s?
- How Does the Establishment of the Wetland Reserve Affect the Relationship Between Men and Nature in the New Era?
- What Were the Reasons for Chinese Local Governments’ Willingness to Establish Environmental Courts in the Late 2000s?
- What Are the Three Functions of the Environmental Court?
- In What Ways Did the Environmental Court Raise Concerns about Justice?
- Related Free Sociology Essays
Which Are the Opposing Arguments between the Chinese State and the Tibetan Exiles Regarding the Environment?
The Tibetan exile groups claim that they were guided by their traditions to ensure that the environment was taken care of. They stated that they had traditional knowledge which guided them and made them live in harmony with nature. This made them lead a life that ensured environmental sustainability. On the other hand, the Chinese state represents the Tibetans as people who led a traditional life and did not actively plan in any way to take care of the environment. The Chinese state tried to educate the Tibetans on the use of various ways of living in harmony with the environment to ensure sustainability. This is to avoid practices that are destructive to nature.
The state also invested a lot of funds in developing nature reserves so as to improve and maintain the environment. It stated that this would be the only way to save the ecology of Tibet. This move attracted many foreigners to donate funds so as to support the conservation efforts. The Tibetans, on the other hand, stated that they already practiced sustainability by following their beliefs. According to their beliefs, interdependence is encouraged. They benefited from the environment, as well as ensured that their actions promoted a healthy environment without hurting different species.
Does the Way Men Use Nature in the Lhalu Wetland in the Pre-PRC Era Represent a Harmonious Relationship between Men and Nature?
Before the PRP the wetland was a habitat to many animal and plant species. These included: phragmites, rushes, sparrowhawk, bearded vulture, black kite, and swans among others. The wetland was also a source of pure water used for many purposes.
The wetland hosted a palace of the royal family and was surrounded by Laghu village inhabited by peasants. The peasants were landless and were given land in exchange for labor provided to the Laghu family for every unit of land given as a way of paying tax. These people worked on the wetland and cut fodder for livestock and made hay to feed animals during winter. The water levels in the ponds were high such that the livestock would only graze at the ends. The government however prohibited grazing animals on the wetlands and workers would harvest reeds to feed the animals. This ensured that the wetlands were not destroyed by the animals.
The water levels were also manipulated in the wetlands during certain periods of the year. Embankments were built to prevent water from flowing out of the low lying areas of the wetlands into a nearby river; these embankments were then removed during summer. This was made to increase productivity of the wetland to ensure the bounty of the next harvests.
Though these activities were carried out to fulfill the tax obligation to the government, they ensured that there was a harmonious relationship between men and nature as they reaped maximum benefits from the harvests while ensuring that the environment was well taken care of.
What Were the Major Changes in the Lahlu Wetland during the 1980s and 1990s?
In the 1980s urbanization was seen as a requirement for development of China. Two rivers had already been diverted so as to create space for construction of buildings and they were directed to one corner of the wetland. These rivers were laden with sediments and with time they gradually filled the corner of the wetland with sand. This resulted to gradual reduction of the wetland.
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Due to increased demand for modern buildings, the city drained part of the wetland to create more space for these developments. Farmland was also converted to urban uses and households no longer had land for agriculture. This increased the standards of living as individuals could no longer cultivate their own crops which they used for consumption and selling to gain income.
In the 1990s a water canal was constructed on the southern edge of the wetland. This canal was constructed for the purpose of making the city more attractive and draining off waste water. It was also supposed to aid in irrigation. This canal however became smelly due to garbage and waste being dumped into it. It also drained the wetland by approximately 70%.
Which Were the New Wetland Reserve Projects in the 2000s?
Lhalu was made a national level nature reserve, protected from humans. This project required a large capital. Harvesting of grass by people as well grazing of animals was prohibited. A high perimeter wall was constructed to prevent people from gaining access to this area and guards were employed to provide security and restrict access to the locals.
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The government also engaged in a campaign through using the media to educate people on the importance of conserving the environment.
How Does the Establishment of the Wetland Reserve Affect the Relationship Between Men and Nature in the New Era?
The establishment of the wetland has deeply affected the inhabitants of Lhalu. Due to the wetland protection and developments due to urbanization, people have lost access to various important resources. One of the major losses is their farmland. This has resulted to their inability to produce food; it was also an income generating activity. It forced most of them to seek employment as laborers at construction sites as they lacked formal employment which would allow them to work for the government. Many of them are not employed and live in poor conditions.
In the past people kept cows, however due to the new regulations and lack of farmland, they are not able to feed the livestock. Hay harvesting was also banned as well as livestock grazing leaving them no choice but to dispose of the animals.
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The wetland reserve is portrayed as an important feature to attract tourists and to conserve various species. This has also played a major role in locking out the locals who used to be the main beneficiaries of the wetland.
One part of the wetland accumulated sand and gravel. This could be beneficial to people as they could sell them to earn a living. The area is however prohibited from being accessed by people and they are thus prevented from getting income from this activity.
What Were the Reasons for Chinese Local Governments’ Willingness to Establish Environmental Courts in the Late 2000s?
In the 2000s the Chinese leadership showed increased interest in the environment and it was clear that there was need for change of the existing policies so as to achieve environmental sustainability. The leadership emphasized the need to protect the environment and this created a need for the establishment of the environmental courts.
A 5 year plan was created to be implemented during a period from 2001 to 2006, according to which leaders were responsible for reduction of pollution and decrease in energy use in their areas of jurisdiction. They issued yearly reports on their progress. Their progress determined if they would be promoted or given bonuses if they achieved the set targets, or fired in case they failed to meet them. This made the leaders support litigations so as to discourage pollutions as well as raise public awareness on issues regarding the environment.
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Pollution crisis in the cities also necessitated the need for the establishment of environmental courts. One of the major crises that faced the cities was water pollution which posed a major threat to the inhabitants. Due to this event environment courts were established to avert the crisis. Several measures were put in place such as fishing ban, suspension of water supply as well as punishment of several officials.
What Are the Three Functions of the Environmental Court?
One of the functions of environmental courts in China is to ensure environmental protection. The courts act as a platform to address issues that pertain to the policies that ensure that environmental problems are dealt with. The courts focus on administrative, economic and legal solutions to environmental problems. These courts work towards ensuring that there are policies in place which will guide individuals in various positions to ensure that the environment is taken care of. They also ensure that activities towards ensuring environment sustainability are economically viable and thus do not end up hurting any party financially. The judges work towards striking a balance between environment protection and development of the country. The courts have a responsibility to ensure that economic growth of the country is not threatened in any way by the policies that deal with the environment. With regard to the environment the courts ensure that the law is followed and also actively participate in resolution of any legal disputes. They are designed to create awareness on litigations and to make the process easier. The court process is usually slow and long in nature, and the environmental courts work to ensure the process of seeking justice becomes shorter. The contribution of these courts towards the environment is seen as the judges do not have to be strictly neutral unlike other cases but usually lean towards what is best for the environment.
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Courts also play an educational role in the society. The judges are often involved in public lectures at universities and schools. During these lectures they emphasize the advantages of environment conservation as well as the punishments that are given once a person breaks the law regarding the environment. This exercise is carried out with the aim of encouraging the young population to join the country in its efforts to take care of the environment as well as discouraging potential law breakers.
The courts are also involved in social control. This is where cases of people who have broken the law regarding the environment are presented. The courts then punish the law breakers. This draws the line on the accepted behavior. The punitive measures send a message to the public that certain behaviors cannot be tolerated and thus steer people away from committing offences.
In What Ways Did the Environmental Court Raise Concerns about Justice?
So as to serve the functions of the environmental courts, the judges are required to cooperate with other state agencies. The judges often consult other government agencies in regard to finding administrative solutions before turning to law. This raises the question of judicial independence as these agencies will focus on other issues such as economic implications and social stability as compared to the environmental factors. This raises major doubts as to whether justice is upheld with regard to what is best for the environment.