Since China’s economic reform programs began, its rapid economic growth has lifted over five hundred million people out of poverty. This accomplishment has been achieved at the price of great risk to national and regional environmental stability threatening the well-being of those living in damaged areas. While China has some of the most stringent and progressive environmental legislation in the world, their effectiveness is hampered by lax enforcement. Professor Hardiman highlights the challenges and opportunities for China as it faces the economic-environmental conundrum
Recent Chinese history is marked by mass campaigns. Mass campaigns to industrialize, mass campaigns to expand the economy, but a mass campaign to restore the balance of nature is still forthcoming. Rather than wait, the Jane Goodall Institute China has taken up the reigns in this campaign to educate China's youth through the Roots & Shoots program. Ms. Helms hopes that knowledge of the environment will spread virally from child to parent and from school to community.