Mother Nature vs China

The egrets are upset.

From my balcony, I watch the two white birds circle, soar and glide their way over their destroyed home. They float gracefully to the far end of a tiny clump of heavy vegetation which has been left untouched, for the moment.  There they gently alight on top of leafy, weeping bamboo stalks before being startled onward by the chaos around them.

I am surprised they want to be anywhere near this area.

The hammering, chiseling, clunking and bulldozing invading our quiet is distracting for all of us.

Mother Nature vs. China, and China is Winning

 

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What once was . . .

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is no more.

 

My previous balcony view of well-tended farmland and heavy tropical forest is now a distant memory as an expressway bridge continues its journey onward behind my building.

It was 1/4 completed 3 years ago, when I first saw it before moving to the new campus.  For a year, the workers put on the last finishing touches on what had already gone up.  There was a relieving halt which allowed me to continue to enjoy my countryside view.

I embraced every moment of seeing the egrets nestle into their beautiful habitat, knowing full well the end was fast approaching.

And so it came 2 weeks ago.

The bridge’s pathway led directly through the bamboo and banana tree groves (now gone) and a small, snaking wide creek which currently I would downgrade as a mere trickle of a stream.

Our Present Environment

The vibrations of destruction can be felt on the air currents. It rattles my apartment building and sends wave after wave of noise throughout my sitting room.  Closing balcony sliding doors doesn’t help, either.  I’ve already tried.

This began October 7, on my return to Luzhou after a week of National Day holidays had finished.

In less than a day, our egrets entire habitat was  destroyed.  In the past 2 weeks, the foresty expanse behind my building has been crowded with heavy equipment plowing through Mother Nature’s wilderness garden.  Workers have been busy putting up housing units for themselves under the finished bridge sections and will soon be moving in so the bridge’s construction can continue onward.

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The Invasion of Modern China

I am reminded that our campus at one point was most likely a precious haven for wildlife as well.  Filled with China’s native plants and indigenous trees, it spread outside of city limits where we now live.  Farmers most likely were here, living in their sod houses and tending their plots of land.  These were taken away to make room for our school’s new site, begun 5 years ago, and now moving into the final stages of fruition, with landscaping yet to go and more buildings yet to be constructed when the funds are available.

University City

I have also been told that the land surrounding our school has been purchased by other small colleges in the area.

This is something new that has been going around other cities in the country.  Colleges and high schools, whose campuses are located in city centers, have been given incentives to move to the outskirts of cosmopolitan areas. This gives land developers more opportunity to put up shopping malls and high-rise buildings in city centers, bringing in more revenue to city governments and putting more people to work building such structures.

Substantial gift funds by city and provincial governments and wide expanses of land are being promised for campuses to move into what are now being called “university cities”.  These are clusters of colleges and schools, one after another,  located in one location, usually right at the outskirts of a city.

So far, 3 Luzhou educational institutions have taken advantage of these incentives: the Medical College University next to us (moved 7 years ago), our vocational school  (moved here last year) and a nearby trade school for high school students (moved 4 years ago).

There is still quite a lot of farmland in between all of us and I’m guessing there will be more schools moving out our way in the next 10 years or so.  Already, there is a major 6-lane expressway nearby my campus which has not been opened yet.  It is entirely finished, complete with beautiful landscaping and even signs that announce the exits for our school.

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The 6-lane highway next to my school campus, a ghost-road still until a future grand opening, whenever that might be.  Here you can see the wide sidewalks and grassy slopes that line the 6 lanes, pictured to the left.

 

It is a ghost road at present, with only a car or two that comes so individuals can practice their  driving skills for upcoming  car license exams.

 

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On this expressway, individual cars can be found from time to time, with experienced drivers (standing in the picture) bringing spouses or friends (behind the wheel in the white car) to practice their driving skills for upcoming drivers’ license tests. Buildings in the background are the Medical University faculty apartments, scheduled to be finished next year. This campus is located next to my school.

 

The empty expressway is a great place to sit and enjoy the countryside surrounding Luzhou.  It’s departing fast, though.  Construction crews are popping up all over the place, getting ready for more bulldozing, more construction and more modernization to make room for more campuses in Luzhou’s University City.

A Lone Egret Cries

Last evening, at nearly 11 p.m., I heard a lone egret intermittently calling out again and again and again.

The construction crew had finished for the day, silence finally engulfing our area, which perhaps gave him (or her) the courage to return.  I could barely make out the white figure in the dark below but there he was. Our sleek feathered one had positioned himself below my high balcony, in a small clump of still-standing vegetation near the riverbank.

From there, he mournfully voiced his search for his companion, or perhaps his sorrow in losing his home, or maybe even his lament at the fate of old China.

Poor little thing.  I feel for you.

From Luzhou, here’s wishing you Ping An (Peace) for your week.  Be very thankful that you have it.

 

 

 

 

 

About connieinchina

I have been in the Asia region for 18 years as an English language teacher. 13 of those have been spent with the Amity Foundation, a Chinese NGO that works in all areas of development for the Chinese people. Amity teachers are placed at small colleges throughout China as instructors of English language majors in the education field. In other words, my students will one day be English teachers themselves in their small villages or towns once they graduate. Currently, this is my second year in Guangxi Province at the 3-year college, Guangxi Normal University for Nationalities. The college is located in smalltown longzhou, 1 hour from the Vietnam border.
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2 Responses to Mother Nature vs China

  1. Jean says:

    So sad. It’s happening everywhere in the name of progress or financial gain.
    Valuing creation—nature, earth and people—is what we need to do. But, not enough of us do this.
    Thanks for this information!
    Jean

  2. Linda says:

    I hear the pain of the egret…
    As a farmwife, living over 50 years on a farm near our small town/village of 700 or so, this year we are seeing a booming of housing additions coming. Farmland sold to developers and made into streets and readying for houses to be built, never again to be fruitful with crops. The landscape is changing seemingly as fast as technology. The near future will not resemble anything I have always known. Our loss, who’s gain?
    I weep with the egret.

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