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China has a long and colorful history that has culminated in rapid urban development. In western China, where significant wilderness areas still remain, the country is a biodiversity hotspot that is under threat. In this audio lecture, Peking University Professor Lü Zhi discusses the history that has led to China’s environmental problems. She also shares three examples of situations that represent how ecological improvements can be made, even in a relatively poor country. Lü shares her experience with a group of students about to leave for a service learning trip to China organized by the Stanford Center for Social Innovation's Public Management Program to explore energy and environmental issues.
Lü Zhi is a professor of conservation biology and the executive director of Peking University's Center for Nature and Society, which promotes better environmental policy and builds leadership capacity in China. She also founded Shan-Shui Conservation Center, a Chinese NGO that demonstrates effective solutions for living in harmony with nature.
Zhi began her career in 1985 with a research project on the wild giant panda and three years on wildlife conservation genetics at National Institute of Health in the USA. From 1995 to 2000, she led the World Wildlife Fund's panda conservation program and established its program in Tibet. She then received a scholarship from Harvard to study issues involving world developments, and thereafter spent one year at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies teaching conservation management. Zhi served as the first country director for Conservation International in China between 2002 and 2007. The field projects she leads are located in western China, including Sichuan, Qinghai, Tibet, Yunnan, and Gansu.