Building a City in Forest: The Story of Jincheng’s Black-to-Green Transition as a Coal City

Anonymous Author

Jincheng, a coal city, is in a green world today. According to the recent article form the China Daily, Jincheng has successfully transited from a black economy to a green economy. This transition is positive for city’s sustainability and its essence is to keep the nature balance. Without such a balance, the black economy will form a harmful model of development by damaging the environment and harming people at the same time.

Usually, black color always relates to an inhibited mood, which could hardly stand longer. It is the same in our real world: a black economy relies on coal industry. According to Jonathan Watts, in his book, “When A billion Chinese Jump”, the damage done by coal to human health and the environment in the province was estimated at 29.6 billion Yuan (over $4.2 billion) in 2005. Also, a toxic environment pushed people to flee from the city. A model of development based on coal is no longer a way to city’s sustainability, though it may bring a transitory economic boom.

In stark contrast, the color green gives me an image of young vigorous life. However, its growth needs special care, because young life seems to be a little weak. In Jincheng’s transition, government incentives ensured the growth of its green economy. First, officials have set up a compensation mechanism. According to the China Daily, Coal mine owners have to pay 10 Yuan for each ton of coal they mine. They are also required to turn land into forest and take care of it. Second, they have helped the farmers to get significant benefits from what they plant. “Forestry makes the fortune that is no longer smaller than coal”, and “the earnings (from cash trees) are good, stable, and more important, environment friendly and sustainable”, described by the news report (Pei & Sun, 2012). Third, the government has purchased forests invested by the farmers. By these means, “about 90 percent of mountain land that was left barren by mining is now covered with greenery”. This results in keeping the human-nature balance for a good environment, benefiting the sustainability of a coal city and its inhabitants.

Moreover, maintaining the human-nature balance creates a sustainable cycle. According to the news report, a healthy environment attracts many high-tech companies, which help propel the city’s economy, marking “another leap forward in Jincheng’s transformation of its growth model”. Having a green city attracts green businesses, which helps grow a green economy.

I would like to appeal for a human-nature more broadly. We should take care of our daily lives more sustainably to build such cycle. For example, we should drive less if we can ride a bicycle to school. This is a good way to not only reduce air pollution, but also to get exercise. We can support the use of more green power, as in Jincheng, to follow the theme of the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, that is, “Better City, Better Life”.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s