Synopses & Reviews
A pioneering, investigative look at China's devastating effect on the world's environment and the future of life on Earth
China is transforming our natural world at an alarming rate. It is the world's largest market for endangered wildlife, poached from India and Africa. It is the top importer of tropical timber, harvested illegally in Indonesia. In Brazil, farmers clear large swaths of the Amazon rainforest to meet Chinese demand for soybean oil and beef. In the U.S., toxic levels of mercury originating from Chinese power plants have polluted a third of American lakes and nearly a quarter of its rivers.
Craig Simons's new book, The Devouring Dragon, looks at how China, in its ascendance, has become the world's worst polluting superpower, creating a devastating environmental impact worldwide. Simons argues that China's most significant impacts over the twenty-first century will be not only on jobs, corporate profits and political alliances, but also on our natural world. The Devouring Dragon combines in-depth reporting with wide-ranging interviews, scientific research, and travel to some of the most beautiful places on earth. It amply demonstrates the urgency of the issue and also hope for the future. With the Obama administration placing China among its top three foreign policy priorities, Craig Simons argues eloquently for ways in which the United States and China can forge a new era of cooperation, support emerging environmental groups within China, and begin to ensure a sustainable future for the planet.
"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. Agent: Janet Silver, Zachary Schuster Harmsworth." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Chinas rise is assaulting the natural world at an alarming rate. In a few short years, China has become the planets 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 worlds 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 planets worst-polluting superpower. It argues that Chinas 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 planets forests, wildlife, oceans, and climate in jeopardy, multiplying the risks for everyone in our burgeoning, increasingly busy world.
About the Author
CRAIG SIMONS has reported on the environment from twelve Asian nations for Newsweek and Cox Newspapers. He has also written for Outside, Backpacker, The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Last year he was one of twelve journalists to win a prestigious Knight Fellowship from MIT. He lives in China.