The earth is the living environment of mankind, providing food, resources, and conditions for development. It has allowed humanity to prosper for thousands of years.

Humanity interacts closely with the natural environment. Both traditional Chinese and Western culture emphasize the benign symbiotic relationship between man and nature. As the ancient Chinese philosopher Dong Zhongshu writes in Luxuriant Dew of the Spring and Autumn Annals, “Everything on earth was created for the benefit of man.” [1] The meaning is that the purpose of the Creator was to offer conditions for humanity to live, and all things on earth may be used by man. At the same time, people must follow the principles of heaven and earth in their lives, and thus use everything in moderation and proactively maintain and safeguard the natural environment in which human beings are to live.

Western traditional culture states that the Creator provides the natural environment for human beings and asks them to manage it. Thus, man should cherish and make good use of the natural environment. In the philosophy of traditional Chinese culture, there is a balance between everything, as well as the imperative to avoid harm. The Confucian Doctrine of the Mean states: “It is this same system of laws by which all created things are produced and develop themselves each in its order and system without injuring one another; that the operations of Nature take their course without conflict or confusion. …” [2]

The Chinese ancients valued protection of the environment. According to historical records, at the time of Yu the Great: “In the three months of the spring, people didn’t take axes to the forest so the forest could flourish. In the three months of the summer, people didn’t put nets to rivers so fishes could breed.” [3]

Zengzi, a Confucian scholar, wrote: “Wood could only be cut down in the right seasons and animals only slaughtered at the right time.” [4] These show the traditional Chinese idea of moderation in all things and of cherishing and protecting the natural environment.

After the industrial revolution, industrial pollution caused severe ecological damage, and Western societies began to become aware of the issue. After environmental protection laws and standards were implemented, pollution was effectively treated, and the environment greatly improved. In the process, public awareness of environmental protection grew enormously, and it was widely acknowledged that environmental protection is a proper goal.

We must distinguish between several ideas: environmental protection, environmental movements, and environmentalism. Environmental protection, as the name indicates, is the protection of the environment. Since the beginning of human civilization, people have understood the need to protect the environment, and this had nothing to do with any particular political ideology.

The environmental movement is a social and political movement for environmental issues. Its primary goal is to change environmental policies and public thinking and habits through mass movements, media influence, and political agitation. Environmentalism is a philosophy and ideology emphasizing the need for protecting the environment and the harmonious coexistence between human society and the natural ecology. The motivations behind environmental protection and environmentalism are not the same as communism — but communists excel at hijacking mass movements and manipulating them to their advantage. Thus we see that from the beginning of modern environmentalism, communists have systematically gone about co-opting the movement.

The issues surrounding environmentalism today are extremely complex: The movement has used sensational rhetoric and people’s genuine desire to protect the environment to create a global political movement. Many participants are well-meaning, have a sense of justice, and truly care about the future of mankind.

However, what many don’t recognize is how communists use environmentalism to claim a moral high ground to promote their own agenda. This is how environmental protection becomes highly politicized, made extreme, and even turned into a pseudo religion — but one without traditional moral foundations. Misleading propaganda and various mandatory political measures have become dominant, turning environmentalism into a kind of communism-lite.

From Chapter 16: The Communism Behind Environmentalism

…turning environmentalism into a kind of communism-lite.
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