Anthropology, Department of


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Nebraska Anthropologist , Volume 29: 2021, pp 20-27


©2021 University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s AnthroGroup


China’s state-led push towards modernization and enhanced economic growth has been marked by environmentally unsustainable practices, the results of which are still being combated today (Sapiro 2001). The construction of the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River in Hubei province, China, represents the largest civil engineering project of the modern era. The dam is capable of generating one-sixth of China’s total electrical capacity; however, China’s attempts to go green come at a substantial cost. (Gleick 2009; Morgan & Waretini 2013; Paerl et al. 2011; Xu et al. 2013). Some of these consequences include increased geologic activity: the forced resettlement of impacted populations, threats to endangered species and fragile regional ecosystems due to altered river currents, sediment flow rates, and the development of dangerous algae blooms (Gleick 2009; Jackson and Sleigh 2000; Li et al. 2014; New and Xie 2008; Paerl et al. 2011; Park et al. 2003; Tan, 2008; Xu et al. 2013). The process of developing publicly accessible environmental impact statements should be more transparent and democratic with a stronger focus on sustainability. This would necessitate the thorough investigation of local demographics, environmental thresholds, biodiversity, and ecosystem interconnectivity.

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