The Campaign for Climate Stability, Ecosystem Restoration, and Poverty Eradication

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The Loess Plateau is the cradle of Chinese civilization and generally believed to be the second place on earth where settled agriculture was practiced. Long known for science, art, literature, this area was the center of power and affluence for the Qin, the Han and Tang Dynasties. Over time, vital aspects of the ecosystem such as biodiversity, soil fertility, infiltration and retention of rainfall were massively degraded. This led to a cycle of flooding, drought and famine that became known as “China’s Sorrow”.

In the mid-nineteen nineties, the Chinese government with World Bank technical and financial support began an ambitious project called the “Loess Plateau Watershed Rehabilitation Project” to address the continuous ecological degradation and the chronic poverty of the region. Now more than a decade on, there are visible and measurable results. The evidence from the Loess Plateau suggests that it is possible to rehabilitate large-scale damaged ecosystem and simultaneously raise millions from poverty.

Beginning in 1995 extensive use of broadcast video has been used to document the rehabilitation allowing those interested to see what the Plateau looked like before rehabilitation and what it looks like now. Since 2006, video has been used to investigate regions of ecosystem degradation and poverty in East Africa allowing for comparison with the situation in China.

There are ecological, social and economic principles that can be seen in the Loess Plateau that are transferable to Africa and elsewhere in the world. This knowledge is immediately relevant to global efforts to address human impact on climate change.
Consistent study of these issues have led to the creation of the “Earth’s Hope” project of the Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP) and several films on the subject including “The Lessons of the Loess Plateau”.

John is currently producing a new film named Earths Hope.  The film is sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, the World Bank, Open University, IUCN (and others.) Earth's Hope will be broadcast world-wide by the BBC on November 27th and screened in Copenhagen during COP-15, the UN Climate Change Conference in December 2009.  For more than 10 years, John has been identifying best practices and documenting effective methods for large-scale ecosystem restoration.