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NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
13 Oct 2000

    Geography
  • China
    Yunnan
    Locality
  • Shangri-La County; Zhongdian
    Latitude/Longitude
  • 27.83068   99.70553
    Channels
  • Stereo
    Sampling Rate
  • 48kHz
    Bit Depth
  • 16-bit
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    Microphones
    Accessories
    Equipment Note
  • Subjects 1,2 are Decoded MS Stereo.

Show: YGRP
Log of DAT #: 2
Engineer: Bill McQuay
Date: 11/05/00

ng = not good
ok = okay
g = good
vg = very good

0:00:56 In conference room, 10/13...confusion of noises, voices, thumping sounds...I found somebody to interview...Let's go up front...woman speaking in Chinese...4:30 applause...man speaking, cel phone rings...man speaking...

0:09:04 Interview prep...(ng - off-mic and staticky) after 5 years this idea has progressed and brought into the states now...It has come into states that can't be practically implemented and has initially solved the basic problems...in this short period of time of five our years, our vision with the support of government ??? support of scholars, we have come to this stage. I think I am most happy and most pleased with this (coughing)...Also at that time, the problems we had been worried about, we all mentioned that explains, those problems we have thought about before have become popular concerns of the local population, associations, and media. That means we have help in the solutions to these problems...For myself and also for the ??? the second implementation is in 1996 ??? at the time, we had an advisory member is also a famous ecologist writer...he brought a group of students came to Du-chi (?) in Green Camp program. People here, many of the are members of that Great Camp program, including Mr. Shi-Huan and Mr. Ling-Tzu (?) so after they came here they gained much better understanding towards the forest and also the ??? but after they came and went back and brought message...but actually, before, they went back to Beijing and Mr Ling-Tzu called me from the...he tells me that ??? Japanese on the UN team is continuing in a ??? kick but the local population did not agree with that, they are against it. They asked me, do you have any means to talk to relevant departments of the leaders to suggest to support this? But then I tried my best to call the certain government in charge of the central government but the answer from that was this has been approved by the state PE education so sure this is a decision and can not be changed, but at the time we thought it was great regret. But it was partly coincidence that ??? in 1996.... (00:13:08)

00:13:20 - Speech in Chinese with echo, room noises.

Index 3

00:15:30 I'll talking today about site conservation, which is a very powerful method the Nature Conservancy has used with partners throughout the world to help decide how to go about approaching conservation. But first I want to say that I came to Da-Ching for the first time in 1992 and fell in love with the very beautiful mountains and the very warm people that I met. I am very grateful that I have the chance to return with this project to again work with you for conservation, so thank you very much for that opportunity.
0:16:27 One of the things for John Sackland, the planner from the ??? (O-Coast?) that I mentioned yesterday is the importance of knowing our critical resources. It is only when we know our critical resources that we can have a conservation plan that directly aims at conserving them. Also, Utara mentioned the importance of working in Ping-wu, of having a very systematic framework for approaching conservation. We must have very good goals, but we must have a very specific framework to organize our actions to achieve those goals. The site conservation planning framework that I'll mention to day is just that sort of process that allows us to focus our actions. All of us, listening to the lectures yesterday know that the tasks ahead of us are very great. We have a big job ahead of us. But that task is attainable. But it will only be obtainable if we remain focused. If we take random actions, if we don't join together with a common, focused, systematic approach, in all honesty, we will fail. And the site conservation framing planwork is a way to make sure that we maintain our focus in this process.
0:18:18 One things that I want to mention is that Tang-tsi's expertise in the past has been on biological resources, but the site conservation planning framework (trans-SCPF) works just as well for cultural resources as well. What we will do over the next two days is first have a description of the SCPF and then we'll break apart into sm...

Index 4

0:18:52 Men talking off mic in Chinese...(speaker) as we work for the conservation of...tomorrow, we'll continue with those group discussions and then come back and report and have a large group discussion about what the next step should be. We want this to be a very practical exercise, so from today, we begin the conservation planning that we talked about yesterday. The four groups that we will be breaking into include wildlife and plant conservation, the preservation of culture, which also includes the issue of mountain climbing, the issue of green tourism, and then also policies and legislation that are important to achieve our objective of a Malay Shuay-Shan conservation zone for both biological resources and culture. That includes public participation. Next slide please...So the Nature Conservancy has been working at specific sites for almost 50 years. This is the specialty of the conservation agency that I work for, that Bob works for, that Hudua-Hua works for. And over the years we have refined our approach to site conservation planning (trans - SCP), using hard practical experience, what works, what doesn't work. And what we can do is define it with 6 critical issues you need to address in SCP. Now I will say that this is a framework that has been developed in the US, Lain America, and in countries of Asia such as Indonesia. But we are only just now starting to implement this SCPF here in China. So one of the most part of the next 2 days is for all of you to think about this framework I'm describing, and what parts are practical for you here, in Northwest Yunnan, here in Malay Shuay-Shan. Together we can modify this framework and make it specifically appropriate to the context here in Malay Shuay-Shan.
0:22:06 The most important thing for us to do is to make Malay Shuay-Shan, to make this Kalaguaybo Conservation area a model that will show others in northwest Yunnan and the rest of China how to approach conservation and development. So on this slide, I've listed the six focal areas we need to make sure we're paying attention to as we approach conservation. They include our conservation targets, the stresses to those targets, the things that make those targets endangered, the sources of those stresses, the human actions that are causing these processes of endangerment. We also need to understand the social context that conservation occurs in, and we do this through stakeholder analysis. We need to know what the situation is of everybody involved in conservation and address as many concerns as possible. Or, when there are concerns that can't be addressed, understand that the stakeholder is not going to be satisfied with our approach. When we understand these things, we can then come up with strategies for conservation and crucial to this entire approach is that we measure our we success. We take actions, and we then review our actions to see if we've been successful. And we then change our actions to further focus, further refine our conservation effect...So with this slide, I have listed these 6 topics. On the next slide, we'll work through the relationships between them...So the 1st thing that we need to select is our conservation target the thing that we're focused on....and in the context of a biological system, that might be something like golden monkeys or something like a glacier, something we can see, measure. We then look at the stresses to that target - what is it, in a very ecological or biological sense that's causing us to be concerned about its health? (ringing phone) This might be something like a high level of death in our golden monkey population...after looking at the eco or bio processes, we can look at the sources of that problem. So, for example, if we see a very severe decline in the monkey population that causes us to be concerned, we can look and see if there are any human reasons that that's happening, For example, it could be because of hunting, because of forest loss...once we understand what the human actions are that are a threat to the conservation target we can start to talk about strategies, ways of resolving sources of conservation threat....we can either indirectly, by threat abatement, so as in our monkey example, as happens so frequently in Vietnam, confiscate the guns...another way to do it would be directly through restoration, which in our monkey example would betaking monkeys from captive populations and releasing them into the forest...and the last part of this is to measure our success. We can do this in three ways. The first way is to look and see whether or not the biological systems have increased in their health. The second way is to see whether or not the threat has been abated. Th e3rd way is to look and wee whether or not our capacity has increased. To use the monkey example: are there more monkeys? If so, our strategies have been successful. Have we abated the threat? Have we taken away a lot of guns? Then we're successful. And has our capacity increased? Do we have more forest rangers patrolling? More public education programs that teach people the benefits of conservation. That's another measure or success. So this slide has a lot of information on it and maybe at first glance it looks a bit complex. But conceptually, it's very simple and its a very powerful way to think about conservation. And what I'll do is give a couple of examples of the systems, the sources, the stresses, the strategies to illustrate these points. But before I go on an d do that, I want to stress how important it is to have public participation. Conservation always takes place in a social context. And it's crucial to understand social context if our conservation efforts are going to be successful. We must have input from stakeholders on many levels, from national eco-tourism operators to the NGO community that is slowly growing here in China as was mentioned by Liang-fung-jia. Or at the level of the local villages so we understand the needs and the situation that they live in. this requires a tremendous amount of public participation. As John Sackland mentioned yesterday, for the winter use plan at Yellowstone there were over a hundred hearings. And it's that sort of public involvement that allows the work that is done at Yellowstone to be so strong. And it's that sort of public participation that will allow the conservation of Mei-li also to be as strong as that at Yellowstone...(0:30:50)

Index 5

0:30:55 We're here on the roof of our hotel and now into space omnis. Gathering ambi.

Helicopter (or idling bus), birds, muffled voices?

0:32:24 banging

0:33:00 dog barking

0:33:55 Okay, gonna stop that, gonna try closing the door get rid of PA sound

0:33:46 this is ambi version two here on the roof, spaced onmis.

0:33:53 (ok) much clearer traffic for a few seconds

0:34:46 omni-present engine speeds up...amplified singing/chanting (soft)

0:35:59 honks, bird chirps, still singing (gets louder)

0:36:50 dog barking

0:38:15-ish chanting stops

0:38:48 there's a long long winter season and...not winter yet?...actually winter will start next month...snows a lot here?...yeah a lot of snow.

Okay, this will be split track. Chris on right, Norbu on left...

0:39:25 My name is Norbu, in Tibetan, means Jury, I was born here in Da Chen. Why did you come to the conference? The ?? of three rivers conference...because this is very interesting things because, you know, I was born here and I think I'm responsible to protect my home and I think this is my home, this environment is my home and I want to do something for my home and I want to protect as possible as I can and I want to try.

0:40:46 The land has always been here, why do you need a special park to protect it?
In our religion, people did never destroy the environment around them and they never killed the animals because to be a Buddhist, this is not allow. But nowadays, this kind of customs is destroyed by the developing society. So more and more people they forget who they are in this town and they forget, most don't even know they are Buddhists and I think we need like a committee or an organization to go around and get more people to participate us in this project. (amplified chanting in bkgrnd) Like this, then everything can go in a proper way.

0:42:22 Tell me more about the Buddhist view of nature and protecting nature. Do you think it's different from the rest of the world? Yeah, I think so. Tibetan area, this is the last and only place in the world is protected so well. Why this area protected so well? Because in our religion, Buddhists never do any bad things for the ?? people, for the nature, for the universe. They all think they must do something good for their friends, for the nature, for the environment, so i think that's the reason why this area and this biology are protected so well

0:43:28 And what is threatening it the most? What is the biggest threat to the environment in this region? Because of the economic growth, I think. do you think Tibetans are forgetting about this attachment to nature? Becoming more interested in material things so that they forget their bond with nature? You know, this a reality because people have to make a living, they need to get something from nature. Especially at this moment today because people around you are getting money are making money. And you, a really Buddhist can not stay there without food with out money. And you see people, they are rich, they are happy. And this will influence the other group of real Buddhists and those group of Buddhists will think, "yes, we need to get something from nature." (barking dog) And they will cut the wood to sell it to make money and they kill the animal to make money. This is the reality. I think this is the biggest threat.

0:42:10 Do you think it's possible to have both at the same time, tradition Buddhist Tibetan love for nature, but also some development - electricity, modern transportation, best of both worlds. Is that possible? It is possible and I think the government is search solution to settle this kind of problem.

0:45:55 Aside from the Tibetans and the Buddhists, the people living here do you think that there is a feeling for conservation, for saving the environment? You know, when, I think...sometimes they get pressure from government because this is a law, you must conserve, you must protect nature, the environment. But not willingly. People, they don't want to protect, they're not willingly. But I think that best thing is, the Buddhists, we must protect the Buddhism. This is the best way to protect the nature. Not give them, not give the buddhists, the local people pressure: you must do this, you must protect, you can not destroy the environment, you can not pollute the universe. I think this is not a good way. The best way is you protect the culture. What is the culture? The main culture of Tibet? It should be Tibetan religion. And you protect this religion and I think the government can get their goal. The local people will protect the nature. I think the most important thing is to protect the religion. And then they will protect the environment. Yeah. 100 percent. Not give them pressure.

0:47:55 now you grew up here in Da Chen? I was born here and I grew up here. Tell us a bit about what it's like to grow up in a place this beautiful. I think there people, my friends, my relatives who are around me teach me how to be a real human being. You should treat other people in a kind way. They teach me how to be a real Tibetan. I think this is the most wonderful treasure in my life.

0:48:58 Is there a way to explain, I'm not a Buddhist, is there a way you can explain to me how through you religion you feel a special closeness to the nature and the environment here? Things that you do? Because human beings are from nature and after death they must go back to the nature and the nature is our home. We can not destroy our home. Tell me how you put this into practice, or is this way of thinking? Is it also a way of doing things? Okay, lemme tell you some things which are still happening in our Tibetan area. I think you can get the answer to this question from this things. When Tibetan people they are dying and they will chop their body to feed the eagles. They think this is last contribution to the nature. You know, people who are living along the river and they think, when they are alive, they are getting things - food, many many things from nature - and they think, when they died, they must do something for nature. And when they died, the relatives, they threwed the body, the corpse into the river to feed the fish. What goes in the river? Oh, the corpse. The corpse, into the river to feed the fish. So...the Tibetan people, they love the nature. I think, if you can go to some parts of the Tibetan area and you say, people, they can live without money, they just need, they need the environment. And to protect the environment, I think this is their very happy things.

0:51:55 So, what do you do for a living? Are you a student? From next month I'm going to run travel agencies, travel agency. I want to do eco-tourism. Also, first, I must protect my home. To make money is not my goal, I just want to show the whole world how civilized Tibetan culture is, how beautiful this land is, how nice Tibetan peoples are. I just want to show the whole world these kind of things. And of course, I must make a little bit of money, I must pay for my staff. But I think I am responsible to do something for my nationality because I love my, I'm proud of to be a Tibetan, I'm proud to be a Buddhist.

0:53:08 And do you think the Tibetian people here have the power to do this, to have the 4 Rivers project and to do the things that are necessary for a very difficult project? It is very difficult project and we still have long way to go. I mean the government, still has a long way to go. But I think we can approach to this goal, step by step.

0:53:38 Any questions? Bill? Anything more you'd like to say? I want to say to the whole American people, thank you for the help from the American residents. I mean, because of them...I can not say this, it's very dangerous, very dangerous...It's okay, just say what you like... Because, you know, we respect Dali Llama you know, and they gave a lot of help to the Dali Llama, and I want to say something about this...Thank you for taking the time to talk to us... It's my pleasure. And I want to say...that is, in the past, especially 10 or 20 years ago, nobody focused on the Tibetan culture. I mean the Chinese government, the Chinese. But these years, the government because they get pressure, especially from America, so they begin to protect Tibetan culture and I want to say, thank you very much. To give us very great help. Thank you very much.

0:55:39 Good byes...Norbu (No-bu)

0:56:14 Excited child shouting, older man responding. Loud, silly children with crackling wrappers, playing (starts loud, gets soft)...cars passing...men talking softly...

0:57:38 This is, this is a...Chinese...Mic pre-amp...Headphones...

Index 10

0:58:44 hold this, Chris... bell ringing... men speaking in background...They made a bee-line for us...bell, children...

Index 11

0:59:40 (cloth in wind sound behind) Flapping in the wind...that works for me...That's what they are, Buddhist prayer flags...Explaining microphone...story about founder of Patagonia sending $6000 dollars worth of polypro fleece, gloves and hats, Chinese customs officials charged 60% tax. Complained to everyone, finally said they'd reduce it some amount, but that they were going to charge 4 months of storage and that was more than the original shipment...Ann made this smart remark, most of the Chinese customs department in Yunnan is wearing pink fleece this year...What did he call you, a doberman in...a rottweiler...

1:02:02 Name and what you do. My name is Edward Norton and I am the senior advisor to the Yunnan Great Rivers Project (trans - YGRP). Job description. The YGRP is a joint project of the Yunnan provincial government and the nature conservancy. The mission of the project is the protect of the natural bio-diversity, cultural resources of Northwest Yunnan (trans - NWY) and the development for strategies of compatible economic development.

1:02:58 Why should China put so many eggs in this basket? What's so wonderful about the region that we're sitting in now that it deserves so much attention? NWY is an area of extraordinary biodiversity. Everybody who has studied where bio-diversity exists on the planet has identified NWY as one of the bio-div hotspots in the world. It's...NWY is also an area of extraordinary cultural diversity. In Yunnan province there are 26 ethnic minorities, 26 non-Han minorities. In our project area, NWY there are 16 ethnic minorities all of whom have distinctive languages, cultures, traditions, religions, and a relationship the environment. And so the protection of the bio-diversity, the protection of the natural values, and the protect of cultural resources are inextricably intertwined. They are the fabric of this area and you can not talk about protecting the one without protecting the other.

1:04:32 Spent a fair amount of time travelling this area. How do you rank it compared to the rest of the natural wonders of the world? (flapping prayer flags very audible) I think comparisons about places are sometimes odious, but I would say that certainly NWY ranks equal to many of the places, many of the icons Americans think about when they think about the great places of the world. And the great places in our national park system, our wilderness system for example. I think that without saying NWY is the same as, it is equal to our Yellowstones and Yosemites and Grand Canyons. It's also an area of remarkable diversity just on the natural side.

1:05:40 Paint a picture for me... Mountains, high mountain ranges, valleys, plateaus. It has enormous variety. The landscape of NWY is characterized by these 4 great rivers that plunge off the Tibetan plateau, running north and south and are separated by 5 high mountain ranges. If you can envision India as being the prow of a ship plunging underneath the Asian continent, forcing the uplift of the Himalayas. And off to the side, is like a wave, a bow wave of a boat. Those are the high mountain ranges created by the uplift. The Himalayas run east and west, forced up by the collision of the Indian sub-continental plate and the Asian plate. And off to the east are these 5 high mountain ranges through which these 4 great rivers run. At one place, not too distant from where we're sitting now, at a distance of about 90 kilometers of each other. And that tremendous difference in elevation between these deep river valleys and these high mountain ranges and peaks is one of the factors that creates this wonderful bio-diversity. The difference, for example, right down the road here on the Mekong, the elevation of the river is about 1900 meters. Rising right up above it is the peak of Kawagapo, which is 6742 meters. So you have staring you in the face a vertical elevation difference of over 4000 meters. Which is 4000 meters, that's over 14000 feet. And so that range of elevation, that variation of elevation within a short distance is one of the factors that creates the remarkable bio-diversity.

1:08:00 Also, I imagine it creates microclimates which create bio-diversity, but it also creates barriers that enable you to get such a variety of cultures that are separated by only a few miles, but by a language... Those river valleys were also, of course, migration corridors for people coming from the north and coming up from the south. They are also migration corridors for plants and animals. So the species migration up these corridors is one of the other factors that creates this remarkable bio-diversity. Also, the monsoon winds blow off the Indian Ocean and hit these mountain peaks and create a wetter western side and a drier eastern and that's another factor that creates the very rich bio-diversity. So this confluence of factors, of river corridors that provide a pathway if you will from both southern Asia and eastern Asia. You have the great variation in elevation, and also the other climatic factors and those combine to create and area of extraordinary bio-diversity. And it's just an enormous number of plant species are endemic, are native to this region. Rhododendron, azaleas, primroses, roses, genshens (?), all of these plants are native to this area. They originally came from here? Most of them came from here. Most of them brought out by Joseph Rock? And other botanists, other people. Rock was certainly one of them.

1:09:50 let's talk a little bit about the project. How did it come to pass that the Chinese government decided to discuss this idea that could be the largest series of parks in China. And how did TNC get involved? TNC became involved because as you know, TNC's mission is the protection of bio-diversity. And this is one of the bio-div hotspots in the world. The short version of the story is that a Thai real estate developer was interested in building a ski resort on Jade Dragon Snow mountain and hired a consultant from CO to come look at the area and the consultant from CO looked at it and said, this is not going to make it as a ski resort, but what is really ought to be is a national park. And the local Chinese, Li Jiang government said, "well, who should we talk to about that?" And the Thai real estate developer said, "well, who should we talk to about that?" And the ski resort consultant from CO said, "you ought to talk to the Nature Conservancy." And so, beginning in the mid-90s, I think the first trip was 1994, people from the Nature Conservancy started coming over here and looking at the area and talking to people, and talking to people in the scientific community, and gathering the information that existed on the area. And then in 1997, I guess, the Thai economy went belly up and the Thai real estate developer dropped out of the picture completely. But the provincial government and the local governments were very interested in pursuing this idea. And so then serious discussions began. And then in June of 98, the Nature conservancy and the Yunnan provincial government signed a very general statement of agreement, setting forth a plan, a very general plan, to look at the establishment of a system of protected areas in NWY. Over the course of the next 6 months, a much more detailed working agreement was negotiated between the Nature Conservancy and the Yunnan provincial gov't. The Conservancy agreed, actually agreed in the original memorandum, to commit 2 million dollars over 3 year period. And the Yunnan gv'y committed 3 million dollars over a 3 years period to the planning and establishment of a series of protected areas. So that's a short history of the project.

1:12:45 When did it take on the name the Great Rivers Project? Who gave it that name? That was a name that was actually agreed on...I think the name was actually suggested by the Yunnan provincial gov't (trans - YPG) because it is, that's a name by which the area is known because of these great rivers - the Yangtze, the Mekong, the Sawein, and a branch of the Urawadi. Those are the 4, going from east to west, those are the 4 rivers.

1:13:25 This seems very ambitious from lots of points of view. You're dealing with several government levels, there are sensitivities to colonial environmentalism, there are sensitivities to the Tibetan situation, the rest of the minorities. Is it manageable? It's difficult. Well, it is difficult. It's complex....I would say that these kind of issues are always complex because they involve competing values. They are particularly complex for the nature conservancy and for those of us who are not Chinese working on this project because we are working in a system, different culture, different language, different political system. The political system is not transparent like our political system. We have had to learn what the locus of decisions is. We have had to learn what can influence those decisions. All of those factors are different from working in the US. So it's been, added on to the usual complexities of environment issues are those additional factors. I've described it sometimes as work...And China is changing rapidly. What was true a year ago may not be true now. I've described it as trying to work in a kaliodescope because change occurs and suddenly all the pieces you thought were neatly arranged fall into a completely different pattern.

1:15:52 If you were to pick out the 2 or 3 biggest obstacles. If 10, 15 years from now it's a reality and there's a system of parks. If you were writing your memoirs, what you look at and say, "those were my toughest obstacles to getting it done"? I would predict the toughest obstacle to getting it done is really understanding, and learning to work with where and how decisions are made. And trying to understand and figure out a way to really influence those decisions. Lobbying? Well, creating the political will to make these decisions. And these are not easy decisions. They're not easy decisions anyplace. And they're not easy decisions in a country, in a party of the country that has really, very very real problems. I mean, think about this issue from the perspective of the Du Chen county governor who we've been sitting in this workshop with for the last 3 days. Here's a young, local Tibetan, the governor of this prefecture. Two years ago the central gov't imposed a very draconian ban on commercial timber harvesting which was 80% of his county's income, a major portion of the cash income for many of his residents. It's a poverty county already, it's a minority county, and all of a sudden he's sitting there with 80% of his income gone, many of his people living in poverty and he's looking around and thinking, what have I got? What am I going to do? And you can understand from his perspective why, on the issue of protection of culture and bio-div and the issue of development, even compatible econ development, why he places a certain emphasis on the development side of it. State governors without any of those kind of pressures, you can understand the Da Chen county governor, you might wonder about the governor of Utah or Arizona. But, so, I think working with these people to create and understanding of what are the long term benefits of this. Both in an economic sense and a sense of how are these places important to China's heritage - natural heritage and cultural heritage. And then helping to create and support the political will to make those decisions, I think that's the toughest challenge. And in one sense the sciemce is easy. The science...first of all, the Chinese science and scientific community is very strong. And the science, the language of natural resource management has become a very common and universal language. We do bring certain methods of approaching these issues, like the Site Conservation Planning method you heard talked about this morning and the Chinese are very open to that at every level - in the scientific community, in the government. You heard the deputy governor of Li Jiang county this morning talk about it. That part of it is actually, that part of the project will fall into place. There are bumbs along the road and nothing ever gets done quite when you hope it will, but that's true every place. That's been true of every issue I've ever worked on in the United States. Things always take more time than you expect they will, but I think that part of the project will fall into place. Ultimately, it's a question of, will there be the political will to make the right decisions.

1:20:47 Another thing that came through that I suspected, but coming to China as a complete outsider, I didn't know if it was really true or not, it's taken centuries to create an environmental ethic among only portions of the American public. And I wonder, is there some type of environmental ethic already extant in China or this part of China? Is it different from the kind of ethic we've developed in the United States. And if there isn't, how can you possibly win the hearts and minds of people overnight?

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