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China's Environmental Challenges Paperback – June 11, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0745660912 ISBN-10: 0745660916 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Polity Press; 1st edition (June 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745660916
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745660912
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #445,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This revolutionary book could be one of the key environmental texts of our age."
Times Higher Education

"A concise and illuminating book."
Financial Times

"An excellent textbook, which I would recommend to any reader interested in a well-written and balanced account of the toll rapid economic growth has taken on China's environment."
The Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies

"A well researched and balanced book about one of the great issues of our time."
South China Morning Post

"This is a well researched book for all students of China studies and environmental studies...This book should be of interest to scholars, policy makers and activists who are looking for an in-depth analysis of China's environmental challenges."
Europe-Asia Studies

"Shapiro’s extensive experience living and working in China has endowed her with a deep awareness of the country’s regional disparities, its ethnic and cultural diversity, and the array of state and non-state actors with a stake in China’s environmental future. Her highly accessible style, along with the lists of Internet resources and discussion questions included at the end of each chapter, should make this judicious and thoughtful book particularly useful for undergraduate teaching purposes."
H-Net Reviews

"An excellent introduction to China’s mounting environmental challenges and the prospects for change, and is relevant for students, young researchers and the general public."
China Journal

"An exemplary introduction not only to China's ecological crisis, but also to the analytic tools that might help us to understand and approach it constructively."
China Dialogue

"A well-written book with an astonishingly captivating authorial voice. Fascinating, thoughtful and topical."
International Affairs

"Students new to the topic of China’s environmental politics should find this book a fascinating introduction. China’s Environmental Challenges also has much to offer readers who are familiar with the subject matter, not least Shapiro’s personal insights and the historical and cultural context in which she places current issues."
LSE Review of Books

"This very accessible, well-­written overview is ideally suited to students of global environmental politics or those with interests in contemporary China."
New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies

"An excellent reference for students of international politics and Chinese studies and a pleasant read for anyone interested in learning about China's environmental challenges."
International Spectator

"A very welcome contribution, a valuable source for covering the environment in Chinese politics courses, and an up-to-date text for the political sections of anthropology and geography courses that cover Chinese environmental problems."
China Quarterly

"Very well written and carefully researched - an essential text for anyone wishing to understand the complexities of not only China’s environmental future, but also the realities to the limits to China’s economic growth."
Journal of the Oriental Society of Australia

"Shapiro writes with great clarity and an underlying sense of moral urgency. Each main chapter  concludes with thoughtful discussion questions to prompt further deliberation. Accessible and concise, China's Environmental Challenges is suitable for undergraduate courses in a wide range of disciplines."
Studies on Asia

"Shapiro should be applauded for leveraging her unusual sensitivity to and superb knowledge of China's historical and cultural complexities to generate a fascinating account of the monumental environmental changes currently under way in that country. The discussion questions listed at the end of each chapter should further increase the value of the book as a main textbook for students of environmental politics and contemporary China."
Perspectives on Politics

"Far and away the best source on what is really going on in China. Using a masterful appreciation of contemporary and traditional Chinese values she seeks to understand the relationship between China's generation-long thrust to build a modern industrial society with the price it has paid in present and future environmental challenge."
WAMC Northeast Public Radio

"This book is an ideal primer for one of the world's most complex and important challenges. From governance and globalization to national identity and justice, Shapiro provides a nuanced and comprehensive introduction to the full range of China's environmental problems and frames discussions on how they might be solved."
Jonathan Watts, author of When a Billion Chinese Jump

"China’s environmental future will shape the lives of everyone on the planet in the years and decades to come. Judith Shapiro provides a wonderfully clear, accessible, and insightful account of the environmental toll of China’s explosive economic growth. This unique and revealing account will be essential reading for anyone concerned about the environmental future of China, the planet, and its people"
Ken Conca, author of Governing Water and editor of Green Planet Blues: Four Decades of Global Environmental Politics

"The rise of China’s economy is transforming the world. Judith Shapiro’s spirited analysis is a riveting journey through the environmental politics of China – with lessons and insights that anyone who is striving for a more just and sustainable future urgently needs to know."
Peter Dauvergne, University of British Columbia, author of Timber

"From her years spent in China Shapiro brings a sharp analysis of China's environmental problems, from the Mao years to the present. As a new green movement emerges, she clearly identifies the immense political and economic challenges it will face. She is cautiously hopeful that China could overcome its history, address its environmental problems, and become a leader in green technology. This is essential reading for students, activists and professionals who are trying to understand what China's future holds, for its citizens and for us."
Gary Marcuse, director of Waking the Green Tiger

"Shapiro is one of the world's leading China scholars. In this crisply written, balanced, and insightful book, Shapiro explains the political, cultural and economic factors that shape China's ability to respond to environmental dangers. Shapiro provides a superb overview of China's environmental protection efforts that will inform policy-makers, students and ordinary citizens for years to come. China's Environmental Challenges is the foundational text many of us have been waiting for."
Paul Wapner, author of Living Through the End of Nature and Environmental Activism and World Civic Politics

"This is a well researched book for all students of China studies and environmental studies... This book should be of interest to scholars, policy makers and activists who are looking for an in-depth analysis of China’s environmental challenges."
Kai Chen, Zhejiang University

About the Author

Judith Shapiro is a professor in the School of International Service at American University, Washington DC. She is the author of Mao's War against Nature and the co-author of Son of the Revolution and other books on China. She can be reached through her website, www.judithshapiro.com.

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Customer Reviews

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The author gives some order to the continuous cascade of environmental news from China.
James Strock
A highly recommended, accessible book which makes compelling reading an a must for anyone who touches upon these issues in their work.
C.J. Hustwick
The book is very well written, and is a highly informative and interesting read, but can be repetitive in parts.
Techie Evan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By SeekingTraveler VINE VOICE on December 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Judith Shapiro's new book, "China's Environmental Challenges," should be read by everyone in the world. I highly recommend it. Every school and public library should carry this book. Every university and every large corporation in America should invite her to speak. If she has not done so already, I would encourage her to pester Joe Biden (the American Vice President) until he gives her a few minutes of his time for a briefing on this important subject.

The book structures its discussion of Chinese environmental challenges on the themes of "globalization, governance, national identity, civil society, and environmental justice." This book is intended for college students: it is a well-researched, broad primer on the subject. It is a book chiefly about the impact of Chinese industrial activity and governance on the environment. It is not a book about environmental science or the creation of environmental policy; hence, there is no discussion of customary risk-based rule-making practices. It is a book about the near past, the present, and the near future; it is not a book which attempts to look ahead 50 to 100 years, or more. It is principally a book on domestic environmental issues within China; however, certain important international issues are also addressed. While this is mostly a book about environmental issues, it sometimes addresses food and industrial safety problems.

I would judge that there are no prerequisite learning requirements for this book; thus, anyone from any background can read it. Dr. Shapiro conscientiously provides the reader with required background information when needed. Having said that, I recommend that students first read
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Techie Evan on November 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
China's efforts to build a modern and great industrial society have had its share of both successes and failures. Some of these successes and failures have caused great -- sometimes unintended or unanticipated -- harm to its natural resources and environment that, in turn, threaten not only the health and well being of its people, but could also have negative spillover effects on people living in nearby and farther away countries.

This book provides a detailed analysis of people and factors that in the opinion of the author have or had a role to play in China's current environmental challenges and the potential addressing of those challenges. The analysis acknowledges that while China has good environment protection laws and regulations, these laws and regulations often have loopholes or are easily circumvented.

The book is very well written, and is a highly informative and interesting read, but can be repetitive in parts. The author's knowledge of and passion for the subject matter are very evident, but her analyses are relatively balanced.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John C. Wiegard VINE VOICE on December 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
Judith Shapiro is clearly knowledgeable about both China and environmental science. Her summary of the grave environmental situation of China is eye opening, but is too short to be the final word. The book is well indexed and has copious notes and website suggestions for further research. Charts and diagrams would have been a good addition.
Shapiro maintains a tone of cautious optimism, but explores the complex political, social, and economic issues in contemporary China that govern the response to terrible pollution of water and air. She also admits that China's greenhouse gas emissions lead the world, and are growing rapidly. It is a good introduction to this topic, which is of vital importance not only to a billion Chinese, but also to the global effort to craft an international response to global warming. This is an excellent primer on the topic, but it invites further reading.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Looking at the economy of the People's Republic of China, the annual growth in GDP that has been around 10% for the last 30 years is extremely impressive and even envied. Once an economically weak state, China is now the world leader in many areas of raw materials and industrial production, including the gross value of industrial output. However, if the less quantifiable costs of environmental degradation and the decline in the health of the citizens due to pollution are included, those figures are much less impressive. Some knowledgeable observers have even put forward the idea that if the long-term negative effects of environmental degradation are included, the actual GDP numbers may be negative.
Shapiro does a very honest and straightforward job of explaining the problems that China faces now and in the future in the economic arena, both environmentally and in the acquisition of new resources. With so many native resources now tapped out or destroyed, China is becoming aggressive in trying to acquire them elsewhere.
These points also explain a great deal of the behavior of the Chinese state in foreign relations. Recently, China has been very aggressive in making claims to small islands, some of which are little more than rocks. These claims have led to a confrontation with Japan, an increase in tensions with Vietnam and have led the repressive regime in Myanmar to seek a rapprochement with the United States. The United States has also openly stated that significant military and diplomatic focus will be shifted to south and East Asia.
Some of the stories are very sad, for example where nearly all of the children in Chinese villages are mentally deficient due to high levels of toxic chemicals in their drinking water.
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