Lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets.

ABOVE:  Autumn foliage at the Five Flower Lake, Jiuzhaigou nature reserve, Jiuzhai Valley National Park, China. (PHOTO: iSTOCK)

By Cong Peiwu, Chinese Ambassador to Canada

Recently, several Canadian media have widely reported the story of a Chinese immigrant in Alberta who used passive solar greenhouse to grow vegetables and achieved great success. In fact, this eco-friendly technique has been broadly applied in China.

Since ancient times, China has had impressive ecological wisdom and cultural traditions, advocating the philosophy of “co-existing with heaven and earth, and uniting with everything.” Based on the fine traditional Chinese eco-culture, Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization combines the further development of ecological concepts like “civilization thrives if ecology is good,” “living in harmony with nature,” “lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets,” “sound eco-environment is the most inclusive benefits to people’s wellbeing,” “the governance of mountains, waters, forests, farmland, lakes, grasslands and sands shall be conducted in a holistic manner,” and “China will work with other countries to promote a global eco-civilazation.” These philosophies not only reflect the traditional Chinese value, but also embody the essence of the Chinese spirit of our times.

Over the past decade, China has continued to increase its investment in environmental protection, intensified its environmental infrastructure construction, and fought a battle against pollution, resulting in significant improvements in environmental quality, with China being hailed as the country that solved air pollution most quickly in the world. China has comprehensively implemented a large-scale afforestation, completed an accumulative afforestation area of 960 million mu (64 million hectares), which accounts for a quarter of the world’s artificial afforestation area, and steadily improved the quality and stability of its ecosystem. China has been committed to driving an energy revolution, promoted the cleaner and more efficient use of coal, and actively developed non-fossil energy, with remarkable results in transition to a green and low-carbon energy economy. Two years ago, President Xi Jinping solemnly announced that China would strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, which marks a new stage in China’s green and low-carbon development.

It is especially worth mentioning that China is the first country to set up the ecological protection red-line system, demarcating more than 25 percent of its land area for protection. China has created a protected-area framework with a focus on national parks, designating its first group of five national parks that includes the Three-River-Source National Park, the Giant Panda National Park, the Northeast China Tiger and Leopard National Park, the Hainan Tropical Forests National Park, and the Wuyishan National Park. Covering an area of 230,000 square kilometers, the five national parks span iconic landscapes in different parts of the country — the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the roof of the world in western China, the mountainous and hilly terrain in the east, the mountains and rivers in the northeast and the rainforests and islands in the south, presenting a beautiful picture of China to the world. Canada has rich experience in running national parks, while China has a latecomer advantage. Both countries have great potential for cooperation.

During the past decade, China has made historic achievements in ecological civilization construction, promoted overall green transformation of economic and social development, and made great strides in the construction of a beautiful China. Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization not only provides fundamental guidelines for the sustainable development of Chinese civilization, but also contributes Chinese wisdom and solutions to the sustainable development of mankind.

Protecting the ecological environment and coping with climate change are common challenges for mankind. Both China and Canada attach great importance to ecological and environmental protection. The Chinese side is willing to strengthen coordination with the Canadian side, seek to build a global ecological civilization, actively promote global sustainable development, and let the people of the world benefit from the philosophy and practice of ecological civilization.