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The Devouring Dragon

How China's Rise Threatens Our Natural World

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


China's rise is assaulting the natural world at an alarming rate. In a few short years, China has become the planet's largest market for endangered wildlife, its top importer of tropical trees, and its biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. Its rapid economic growth has driven up the world's very metabolism: in Brazil, farmers clear large swaths of the Amazon to plant soybeans; Indian poachers hunt tigers and elephants to feed Chinese demand; in the United States, clouds of mercury and ozone drift earthward after trans-Pacific jet-stream journeys. Craig Simons' The Devouring Dragon looks at how an ascending China has rapidly surpassed the U.S. and Europe as the planet's worst-polluting superpower. It argues that China's most important 21st-century legacy will be determined not by jobs, corporate profits, or political alliances, but by how quickly its growth degrades the global environment and whether it can stem the damage. Combining in-depth reporting with wide-ranging interviews and scientific research, The Devouring Dragon shines a spotlight on how China has put our planet's forests, wildlife, oceans, and climate in jeopardy, multiplying the risks for everyone in our burgeoning, increasingly busy world.

From Publishers Weekly

Dec 10, 2012 – Environmental journalist Simons, who spent years reporting from Asia, recounts his adventures witnessing the mind-boggling extent of devastation wreaked on the Chinese and global landscape by unchecked growth. Pairing on-site observations and interviews with data taken from academic research and government reports, the author paints a dire picture of the wanton destruction of entire ecosystems, choking pollution that shaves years off of life expectancy, and massive climate change, which he predicts will become humanity s most important challenge. Simons s tour of the Three Gorges Dam, which has displaced millions of people and could mean extinction for dozens of species, reveals a tightly controlled propaganda operation designed to hide any downside risk, which only foreigners are foolish enough to ask about. Meanwhile, Chinese industry is turning some of the last old-growth forests in India and Papua New Guinea into furniture, and darkening the air with soot half a world away over the Rocky Mountains. As lively and colorful as it is depressing and enraging, the book is long on anecdotes, but short on concrete policy suggestions. Simons s vague recommendation that we need to think differently leads one to suspect that the situation will only get worse.
The Devouring Dragon
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Nature
  • Published: Mar 12, 2013
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Seller: Macmillan / Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC
  • Print Length: 304 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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