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When a Billion Chinese Jump: Voices from the Frontline of Climate Change by [Watts, Jonathan]
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When a Billion Chinese Jump: Voices from the Frontline of Climate Change Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product Description

Review

"Fascinating, engaging and beautifully written. A masterpiece" --George Monbiot, author of Heat and The Age of Consent

"Spectacularly important...a shocking eyewitness account of China's environmental meltdown. It should be compulsory reading for all" --Rob Gifford, NPR Shanghai Correspondent, and author of China Road

"With wonderful travelogue-like writing, Watts takes us on an incredible journey through today's China-and our tomorrow" -- Lester R. Brown, President of Earth Policy Institute and author of Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization

"An excellent read. A few good gags in it too, something few writers on China dare ever to try" --Paul French, author of Through the Looking Glass: Foreign Journalists in China from the Opium War to Mao

"I admire Jonathan Watts for his rigorous approach to journalism and his devotion to human stories at the grass roots" --Ma Jun, founder of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs and author of China's Water Crisis

"Fascinating, engaging and beautifully written. A masterpiece" -- George Monbiot, author of Heat and The Age of Consent

A wonderfully readable look at the crucially important topic of environmental degradation and experiments with green technology in China." --Jeffrey Wasserstrom, The China Beat

"With wonderful travelogue-like writing, Watts takes us on an incredible journey through today's China-and our tomorrow" --Lester R. Brown, President of Earth Policy Institute and author of Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization

"Watts bundles the reader into his backpack and sets out.But this is far more than a series of adventure stories...Watts's book should be on the reading list of anyone anxious about the future of this planet" --Jane Macartney, The Times

Book Description

An essential and incisive discussion on China today - a country on an environmental precipice that will affect the entire world.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2323 KB
  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (16 Sept. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0044KLUTC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #326,387 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you're even half-considering getting this book, I highly recommend you do. This will appeal to anyone even vaguely interested in China, its history and culture, or its role in the world today and in the years to come.

Divided into 16 chapters each based on a different region of China and a slightly different environmental/social issue, each section balances hard, often jaw-dropping, facts and figures with interesting, often amusing and compassionate, accounts of individual lives and interviews. The result is a persuasive, highly educational book which uses human interest to bring the issues to life and still ensure this is a genuine pleasure to read and never hard work for the reader.

It's also a very fair book. Watts presents views of differing sides of each issue and, though passionate about environmental issues and the need for humanity to change its culture, doesn't lecture the reader nor side against one factor, be it Chinese rulers, consumer culture, capitalism or historical Western practices. Not without well explained reasoning, anyway.

This is a book that could and should interest someone with an already substantial knowledge of China and the issues concerned. But it is also a book written in such a way that is very accessible to a more casual reader who has enjoyed the odd Sunday papers world news article. For the latter, if 400 plus pages seems like too much of a commitment, each chapter would stand up pretty well on its own for more casual dipping into. If you need more convincing, maybe read some of Watts's online Guardian/Observer articles as a taste. Not that they quite do justice to the scale of the project he has undertaken here.

Journalism at its best.
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By J. Milton VINE VOICE on 30 April 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is travel writing at its best. Having lived in China for a number of years it is clear that Jonathan Watts knows a great deal about what he is talking about and manages to weave together one story about an emerging China with another about the unique characteristics of each region and what makes some more successful, both economically and environmentally, than others.

The book follows Jonathan Watts as he travels through regions of China, some regions being a chapter by themselves and others being combined together. Each chapter combines a potted history about the region(s) presented alongside the current state of the region(s), astounding facts and figures and personal testimonies about the effects of economic development upon the environment.

As stated by previous reviewers, this book is non-judgemental in its assessment of China. It does state the environmental pitfalls of economic development and as said, gives some astounding facts and figures in doing so, but also states quite clearly the progress that China is making towards green development. In doing so, you are allowed to come to your own conclusion about China's green credentials and whether China is seeking dominion or stewardship over their (and others) environments.

An eye-opening read.
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Format: Paperback
China overtook the US as the world's biggest emitter of carbon this year, and has doggedly stood by its rights to develop and industrialize, and nobody is going to tell China what to do. At the same time, China has more installed solar capacity than any other country, has the biggest high speed rail network, and is pioneering green technologies from carbon capture and storage to electric car batteries.

'When a Billion Chinese Jump' is the book that makes sense of China's role in a world of climate change, and what an excellent book it is too. The title comes from the author's childhood fear that if everyone in China jumped at once, the earth would tilt off its axis. Now, he reasons, a billion Chinese have jumped - economically speaking - and the earth needs to rebalance.

The book is written as a travelogue. Jonathan Watts makes his way across the country from West to East, investigating a variety of environmental issues along the way. It's a great travel book in itself, full of local characters and exotic places, both pleasant and unpleasant. Watts travels to disaster zones, goes down coal mines, and is shown around eco-city building sites and model communist villages. Each chapter in the book covers a different region of China, and also a different issue: deforestation, pollution, erosion, conspicuous consumption, carbon emissions. It is at times a little terrifying, more often tragic - the price of China's industrial success is misery for millions of ordinary people.

Watts puts this all in its historical context, from the peasant culture of rural China to Mao's 'Great Leap Forward', and teases out the cultural trends behind China's actions. He also sees China's role as crucial to the future of the planet.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very interesting author and a thought provoking analysis on what is happening in China since the country became more open to the world. The battle between economic expansion and care for the environment is discussed in depth, also in relation to how this affects the chinese people themselves.
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this is an amazing book - the way it is written and the content it conveys. if there were 6 or 7 start rankings the book would deserve more than five stars.

for everybody interested in how china manages its environment - often impressive (the reforestation) but often also frightening (the south north waters, the multitude of dams) or amazing (the breeding of pandas) this book is a must read - very much the shape of things to come
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