Published in Taiwan 2000, Balancing economic growth and environmental protection, 1989
I feel very grateful and honoured to have been invited to write this epilogue on the history of TAIWAN 2000.
The idea for such a study was born on a beautiful Indian summer day in Autumn 1983. I was sitting under a 400-year-old oak tree in the garden of a house in Riverdale, New York. My host was Father Thomas Berry, a cosmic historian, environmentalist, and one of the founders of the new bioregional approach to economic-ecological development in the United States. We were discussing the evolution of our planet and the mounting problems created by human beings interfering with nature.
I told Tom about a recent visit to Taiwan and how impressed I was both with the strong economic growth of the island and with the very apparent and frightening strain on the quality of its natural environment. As we talked it occurred to both of us that this island was an ideal place to apply the concepts of bioregional development. With an area of roughly 36,000 square kilometres, only limited environmental influences from neighbouring countries, and an exceptionally varied and beautiful nature, Taiwan could provide a unique model of a comprehensive, well-managed bioregion.
A study of scenarios for the future development of the economic and ecological systems of Taiwan could be beneficial not only for the island’s people but as a model for nations around the world. It could contribute to a greater awareness of the criticality of the current phase in our planet’s evolution and of the special responsibility of humankind for this phase. It seemed to us, moreover, that the thousands of years of Chinese tradition of respect for nature could provide the right cultural setting for such a project.
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