This book sheds light on the social imagination of nature and environment in contemporary China. It demonstrates how the urgent debate on how to create an ecologically sustainable future for the world’s most populous country is shaped by its complex engagement with religious traditions, competing visions of modernity and globalization, and by engagement with minority nationalities who live in areas of outstanding natural beauty on China’s physical and social margins. The book develops a comprehensive understanding of contemporary China that goes beyond the tradition/ modernity dichotomy, and illuminates the diversity of narratives and worldviews that inform contemporary Chinese understandings of and engagements with nature and environment.

chapter |16 pages


The diversity of eco-religious practice in China

part I|109 pages

Ecology and the classics

chapter 1|10 pages

Ecology and the classics

chapter 3|23 pages

‘The Great Virtue of Heaven and Earth’

Deep ecology in the Yijing

chapter 4|13 pages

‘Hard-hearted’ and ‘soft-hearted’ ecologies

A rereading of Confucian and Daoist classics

chapter 6|30 pages

When the land is excellent

Village feng shui forests and the nature of lineage, polity and vitality in southern China 1

part II|111 pages

Imagining nature in modernity

chapter 9|17 pages

Is Chinese popular religion at all compatible with ecology?

A discussion of feng shui

chapter 10|13 pages

‘Ecological migration’ and cultural adaptation

A case study of the Sanjiangyuan Nature Reserve, Qinghai Province

chapter 11|26 pages

Reverse environmentalism

Contemporary articulations of Tibetan culture, Buddhism and environmental protection