Chinese Traditonal Religion Operates An Environmental Group? How do I write about this and avoid racism?

If you go back and look at the original list of the WORLD’S RELIGIONS there are roughly 1.5 billion people that fall into 2 pretty blurry categories. Easiest to deal with are th 1.1 billion,

Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion


Because I write about them everyday when I am not writing directly about Energy Issues, I am not going to do a post here.. The Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth and most of the other environmental nonprofits are of this group. Much harder to discuss though are religions like those of mainland China.


Chinese traditional religion: 394 million

Chinese Traditional Religion causes clouds in westerner’s minds. I mean it would be so easy to get all New Earthy here with cliches and stuff. Or make rude references to the television program Kung FU and  being like a “grasshopper” or make fun of Shanghai Knights and Jackie Chan

Western views

The absence of a proper name for this religion, associated with the absence of any canonical literature, have for a long time caused Chinese folk religion to be viewed by Westerners as a popularized version of an “authentic” religion, in the same way that the cult of the saints is viewed. Both in China and outside, adherents often describe themselves, or are described by others, as followers of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, or a mix among these.

Blurtit expands on this definition:

“Worship of animals, the sun, moon, earth, the heavens and stars has been a tradition of this religion. Various devotions in celebration of legends, festivals, folk gods and goddesses has been part of the Chinese culture for centuries. Mythical figures, “saints,” immortals, and demigods are part of the Chinese tradition.”

The real problem for many of the world’s religions from a Jewish/Christian/Islam perspective is that they lack a Messianic Character (Christ); they are largely oral and interpretive in nature; and they are not monetheistic. This is true of a post already put up that dealt with Hinduism, but even more true of Jainism and some others.

Yet many of these religions directly address the environment as being much more important than the current leaders of the food chain, and caution against the over use of resources such as energy.

I rarely ever get lucky, but on this topic I did. a guy named Austin Arensberg put together this enormous list of groups, mostly local NGOs, working on environmental issues in China and sharing a traditional perspective.

A partial list includes:

Green Earth Volunteers

Green Watershed

Green River

Nu River Project

China Rivers Network

Wild China

Han Hai Sha: Volunteer Website Dedicated to Desertification in China

China Green Foundation

Green Camel

Perspectives plateau
Contact: Marc Foggin
Phone: +86 0 976 889 2104

Green Khampa
Contact: Mr. Ding Xiaotao
Phone: +(86) (0) 836 283 9119

Friends of Grasslands
Contact: Mr. DA Lintai
Phone: +(86) (0) 471 4312480

Green Campbell – Lanzhou Grasslands Research Institute

Gansu Grassland Ecological Research Institute
Contact: Dr. Liang Tiangang
Phone: + (86) (0) 0931 8662047, Fax: 86 0931 8497314
Address: P.O. Box 61, 730020, Lanzhou, Gansu Province

Snowland Great Rivers Environmental Protection Association
Contact: Gara Sandrup Rokai
Phone: + (86) (0) 971 6116 843, 0976 882 9088
Fax: 0976-8829099 ,

Upper Yangtze Conservation Development Organisation
China Vetiver Network

China Biodiversity Conservation Foundation
Fujian Bird-watching Society
Fujian Fire Bird?
HongKong Bird-Watching Society
Xiamen Bird-Watching Society
Shenzhen Bird-Watching Society
Wetland of the Dongting Lake?

Center for Biodiversity and Indigenous Knowledge
Siberian Tiger Park
Wuhan Baiji Dolphin Conservation Foundation
China Wildlife Conservation Association
Nature and Culture Conservation Club

Green Dalian
Friends of Nature

And a 2006 Worldwatch Institute article makes this point:

In this 2006 article by Lila Buckley, titled:

Maturing Environmental Movement Takes Uniquely Chinese Approach

“While many of their issues are familiar to activists around the world, environmentalists in China recognize that they must forge their own path. Speaking at the NGO Forum, Mei Yue, media director for Greenpeace China, explained how her organization tries to take advantage of environmental principles embedded in Chinese culture and philosophy. “Thinking locally in China involves traditional ideas of humanity in harmony with nature,” she said, noting that environmentalists need to stress more broadly the notion that this harmony is out of balance. “Then we can come up with uniquely Chinese understandings of new terms like ‘ecology’ and ‘sustainable development’ in order to solve our problems,” Mei explained.”

Unfortunately hindsight paints a less than hopeful Picture. The main point of the article is that Chinese Environmentalist are ready to dig in and fight. This last year brought global warming to China producing the first Heavey snowstorms during their New Year and ruining everyone’s holidays. The drought continued in the west and their deserts expanded and they drove the price of oil up over a 100$$$ per barrel.

And as usual the pretty pictures too:


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