'If everyone in China jumps at exactly the same time, it will shake the earth off its axis and kill
us all'. What an amazing thought, quoted on the first page of this book (see Opening Extract).
It captivated a young child and inspired him to a lifelong interest in the largest population in the
For it is the people that make this book - not the politics, not the history and not even, it must be said, the places. They are all here, that is true, but it is the human insights that make this book work. The writer's ageless fascination for a billion people - who live on our planet but in a different world - runs through every page.
This is not one sudden earth-shaking jump. It is a gentle, leisurely, thoughtful, interesting
journey. A journey which leads you to a heartfelt plea for a behavioural approach that should be considered by all mankind.
Consistently attentive to human detail, Watts vividly portrays individual lives in a country all too often viewed from outside as a faceless state. No reader of his book - no consumer in the world - can be unaffected by what he presents.
With foul air, filthy water, rising temperatures and encroaching deserts, China is already suffering an environmental disaster. Now it faces a stark choice: either accept catastrophe, or make radical changes. Traveling the vast country to witness this environmental challenge, Jonathan Watts moves from mountain paradises to industrial wastelands, examining the responses of those at the top of society to the problems and hopes of those below. At heart his book is not a call for panic, but a demonstration that - even with the crisis so severe, and the political scope so limited - the actions of individuals can make a difference.
Publication date: 01/04/2011
Publisher: Faber & Faber
|Publication date:||1st April 2011|
|Publisher:||Faber & Faber|
|Categories:||Pollution & threats to the environment, Applied ecology,|
Jonathan Watts is the Guardian's Asia environment correspondent and recently covered the Copenhagen Climate Conference. He was short-listed for Foreign Correspondent of the Year at the 2006 British Press Awards, and he and his research assistant were awarded the One World Media Award for best press story in 2007. In 2009, he was a co-winner of the environment prize at the One World Media Awards for a series on the global food crisis.More About Jonathan Watts