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Talk about how the rise of the Chinese language center class has resulted in each environmental hurt and the safety of the surroundings in China
The Impact of China’s Rising Middle Class on the Environment: Challenges and Progress
China, the fourth-largest country in the world, is home to over a billion residents, and a significant portion of its population now constitutes the largest middle class globally (Fawssett, 2017, p.13). This transformation has been driven by economic reforms and urbanization, resulting in a massive migration of people from rural to urban areas (Fawssett, 2017, p. 47). This essay examines how the rapid development of the industrial sector and the emergence of the middle class have affected the environment in China, both in terms of environmental harm and environmental protection.
Paragraph 1: Economic Growth and Middle Class Development
Between 1978 and 2010, China’s economy grew at an astounding rate of approximately 10% per year (Fawssett, 2017, p. 13). This growth was primarily driven by the expansion of the manufacturing sector, making China the world’s largest manufacturer (Fawssett, 2017, p. 37). Government policies shifted focus from low-cost goods to higher-value manufacturing and services, resulting in the lifting of approximately 680 million people out of poverty. However, this economic transformation also led to significant income inequality, with urban dwellers earning more than double their rural counterparts (Fawssett, 2017, p. 24). Urbanization played a pivotal role in the emergence of the middle class, driven by the opportunities and aspirations associated with city life, including increased consumption.
Paragraph 2: Changing Diets and Environmental Impact
The rising middle class has contributed to increased demand for food, leading to the use of fertilizers to boost crop yields (Morris and Pearson, 2017, p. 96). Urbanization and longer food supply chains have resulted in dietary changes among the Chinese population (Morris and Pearson, 2017, p. 95). This shift has led to environmental harm, particularly in terms of water pollution and eutrophication, where excess nutrients from fertilizers harm aquatic ecosystems (Morris and Pearson, 2017, p. 99). Notably, Lake Chaohu experienced an algal bloom in 2015, potentially linked to fertilizers (Morris and Pearson, 2017, p. 99). Changes in food processing and packaging, driven by increased consumption, also contribute to environmental impacts.
Paragraph 3: Energy Consumption and Environmental Consequences
Rising consumption levels have escalated the demand for energy, making China the world’s largest energy consumer, responsible for a significant portion of global consumption (Peake et al., 2017, p.144). However, 90% of China’s energy is derived from fossil fuels, particularly coal, resulting in poor air quality in urban areas and increased carbon dioxide emissions during periods of economic growth (Peake et al., 2017, p.146). These emissions have led to environmental issues such as acid rain, smog, and health problems, with thousands of premature deaths attributed to air pollution (Peake et al., 2017, p.146). The example of Beijing issuing a red warning in December 2016 due to severe environmental concerns underscores the severity of the problem (Phillips, 2016).
Paragraph 4: Increase in Waste and Environmental Implications
The rise in consumption has generated more waste, affecting both human and ecosystem health (Peake et al., 2017, p. 136). Improper waste disposal has led to methane gas emissions and hazardous runoff (Peake et al., 2017, p. 156). There is evidence, including the acknowledgment by the Chinese Environmental Ministry, of the existence of “Cancer villages,” where cancer rates exceed normal levels due to pollution from nearby factories and contaminated waterways (Peake et al., 2017, p. 157). The Shenzhen landslide incident in 2015, caused by construction waste, resulted in casualties and environmental damage (Peake et al., 2017, p. 160).
Paragraph 5: Environmentalism and Attitudinal Shift
Chinese citizens, primarily from the middle class, are increasingly advocating for environmental protection (Peake et al., 2017, p. 185). This shift in attitude can be understood through Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, indicating that as basic needs are met, individuals focus on improving their quality of life (McLeod, 2018). Environmental protection initiatives have been bolstered by legal changes, such as the 2015 environmental protection law that empowers environmental groups to take legal action against polluting companies (Peake et al., 2017, p. 190). There is a growing awareness that environmental issues could impede continued economic progress (Peake et al., 2017, p. 189).
In summary, China’s rapid economic growth and the emergence of a substantial middle class have brought about both environmental harm and progress. While economic reforms and urbanization have contributed to significant environmental challenges, such as pollution, resource consumption, and waste generation, there is evidence of an attitudinal shift and increased environmental awareness among the middle class. However, more substantial efforts and resources are needed to counteract the environmental damage that continues to impact the lives of many Chinese citizens, with an estimated four thousand people dying prematurely each day due to environmental issues (Peake et al., 2017, p. 146). Balancing economic development with environmental sustainability remains a critical challenge for China’s future.