From Publishers Weekly
For teacher and author Grumbine (Ghost Bears), visiting China's Yunan Province was an eye opener; as an expert on environmental issues, his concern over U.S. "protected area policies" had shielded him from far more profound problems abroad, especially the potential conflict between renewable energy development and biodiversity protection among the "88 percent of the world's humans who lack electricity, potable drinking water, basic education and healthcare." Though they've already built more dams than any other country, China's plan to build 13 new ones on three Himalayan rivers will have a huge impact on Yunan, a biological paradise home to orchids, snow leopards, fifteen species of primates and more. An international grass-roots outcry has put the project on hold, good news for the Golden Monkey but, as a staffer from the nature conservancy points out, bad news for the area's 200,000 impoverished villagers. Further complications include the fact that, should the new dams be scrapped, the growth rate of China's already-troublesome carbon dioxide emissions will be far worse. Grumbine's account demonstrates how first-hand experience broadened his understanding of the problem, requiring an approach that balances "using nature and protecting it." With much information on Beijing's efforts to reach an equitable solution, Grumbine's careful reconsideration of world conservation efforts is an important read for policy makers and grass-roots advocates.
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"Discussions of China's economic and environmental landscape often leave out a key issue—its people. This important and enjoyable book brings their stories to life. In Grumbine's capable hands, hunters, weavers, and school children stop being statistics and start being individuals you can't help but care about."
(Wade Davis author of The Serpent and the Rainbow, One River, and River Notes
"Ed Grumbine spent decades working with federal land managers and teaching classes in the mountains, canyons, and universities of the American west. Some years ago, he took on mastery of the complex biogeography and anthropology of southwest China especially Yunnan (south of the clouds) Province. He made many trips to China (and read exhaustively) and met the right people to get a solid grasp of the dilemmas that the current government is both creating and grappling with. I don't know a better introduction to the problems of China and its environment—its border peoples, impoverished farmers, and threatened plants and animals—than this book right now."
(Gary Snyder Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Turtle Island and The Practice of the Wild
"Grumbine's fascinating new book examines the country's burgeoning environmental movement at its source: in the rain forests, mountains, and rivers of Southeast China. Grumbine deftly blends first-hand experience tramping through Chinese rain forests with untiring research to create a unique landscape of China's burgeoning eco-consciousness."
"A must-read for anyone interested in the environmental movement in China. Through his lucid description of the development versus conservation divide on the Nu (Angry) River in Yunnan Province, Grumbine illustrates how, through transforming nature, China's attitudes toward nature are also being transformed."
(Xu Jianchu Senior Scientist and China Representative, World Agroforestry Centre
"Successful balancing act between solid scientific information and an entertaining travelogue."
(East Asian Science, Technology, and Medicine
"With much information on Beijing's efforts to reach an equitable solution, Grumbine's careful reconsideration of world conservation efforts is an important read for policy makers and grassroots advocates."
"There is no other book that comes close to Where the Dragon Meets the Angry River or pulling readers into the wild ride of China's rise. If you want to understand the growing force of nature that is China, Grumbine's account is the best place to begin."
(Paul R. Ehrlich Bing Professor of Population Studies