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China's Environmental Crisis: Practical Insights from Chinese Religiosity

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image of Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

Confronted with a looming ecological crisis, calls are intensifying for modern China to rekindle its ancient naturalistic worldview. My paper explores the practical implications of these exhortations, namely, the requisite actions to transform contemporary Chinese into citizenry committed to sustainable living. Two trademarks of the traditional Chinese moral enterprise will be elaborated. The first is the doctrine of concentric circle. I will explain that the Confucian strategy to fulfill humankind's universal obligation is to begin with rectifying the self, the local community and extending incrementally towards the embracing of all things. The process to heal nature's wounds henceforth must similarly commence with disciplined self-cultivation anchored in the nuclear family. The second is ancestral worship, which I plan to argue has efficacy in strengthening people's resolve to subsist sacrificially for the sake of their descendents. As a platform to venerate the dead, this ritual also serves as conduit to a spiritual realm that awakens the living and reinforces our bond to the future generation.

Affiliations: 1: Adjunct Research Fellow, Monash Asia Institute, Monash University, PO Box 197, Caufield East, Victoria, 3145, Australia;, Email:


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