Land and Water Use in Rural China: Towards Positive Environmental Change A Case Study of Shaanxi and Shanxi Provinces
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This paper looks into the environmental problems and solutions that are currently affecting the rural citizens of Shaanxi and Shanxi provinces on the Loess Plateau in northwestern China. These issues must first be understood within the context of modern China and its social and political issues. The first section aims to contextualize these issues by offering background information on how China was “left behind” during technological advancements in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, how the nation hastily compensated for this through its incredibly rapid economic development in the past thirty years, and what impact this has had on the land, water resources, and people. Next, I will narrow in on Shaanxi and Shanxi provinces by describing my research during the summer of 2012. Using information obtained through interviews with farmers, government officials, and workers – along with other experiences I have had while in China – as a case study, I argue that China is advancing rapidly in the obvious sense of economic growth and development, and that this advancement is positively influencing China’s people. On the ground, China is obviously still a developing nation, but I argue that the government is taking the proper steps to ensure China’s place in the future of our global society through addressing some of the root causes that would otherwise force it to falter among global competitors.