Interview: U.S. ecological philosopher calls for urgent global efforts to address plastic pollution

  • World
  • Wednesday, 31 May 2023

by Xinhua writer Tan Jingjing

LOS ANGELES, May 30 (Xinhua) -- It is urgent for countries around the world to take actions to address plastic pollution, said renowned U.S. ecological philosopher John Cobb, Jr. in an interview with Xinhua ahead of the World Environment Day.

The United Nations Environment Programme annually organizes events for the World Environment Day to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the protection of the environment. It is celebrated on June 5 in more than 100 countries.

The World Environment Day 2023 will focus on beating plastic pollution and spotlight solutions to plastic pollution. The year marks the 50th anniversary of the World Environment Day.

Praising China's "Bamboo Instead of Plastic" initiative, Cobb, a 98-year-old member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, said finding replacements for plastic in many of its current uses would be a "great help."

China has launched the "Bamboo Instead of Plastic" initiative with the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization to lead the world in formulating a global action plan. The initiative is expected to deepen cooperation by leveraging bamboo's advantages in reducing pollution by replacing plastic products.

"It (the initiative) may prove a great example of how technology can enable us to maintain economic growth while using only sustainable methods and resources," said Cobb, founding president of the California-based Institute for Postmodern Development of China, a U.S. think tank and non-profit organization.

China has been playing a "remarkably positive role" in addressing environmental protection and climate change in recent years, he told Xinhua.

"China is working for international peace, and this would allow for great environmental gains. It is also helping many countries develop along the lines measured by GDP," Cobb noted.

China's great achievement at home was lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, Cobb said.

"China has my admiration for unswerving adherence to the construction of ecological civilization," Cobb noted, adding it is a "wise and far-sighted move," because ecological civilization is the only way for human beings to avoid self-destruction.

Cobb chaired the 16th International Forum on Ecological Civilization, also named the Claremont Eco Forum, held online from May 25 to 27.

More than 200 ecological civilization experts and environmentalists from around the world, including the United States, China, Hungary, the United Kingdom, Slovenia, Germany and Singapore, joined in-depth discussions on the theme of deep transformation for ecological civilization.

As a prestigious annual event that began in 2006, the Claremont Eco Forum stands as the earliest and largest forum dedicated to ecological civilization in the Western world, Cobb told Xinhua.

"Our mission is to gather innovative academics, non-profit leaders, prominent activists, and governmental officials from both China and other nations to explore new worldviews, modes of thinking, developmental models, approaches to organic farming, and educational paradigms in the pursuit of transitioning towards an ecological civilization," he said.

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