The Chinese military is deploying more than 60,000 soldiers on a new mission. However, this mission isn’t quite typical of what most would think of a military deployment.
Troops stationed along the northern border are being sent on a mission not with automatic rifles, but with shovels. This new initiative is intended to combat the terrible pollution in the country and global warming.
The means for achieving this goal of ecological rejuvenation is the renovation of vast swathes of forestry and vegetation. The plan involves the renovation of 32,400 square miles of forestry in the Hebei province, an amount of land roughly the size of South Carolina.
The province, which is highly reliant on the coal industry, surrounds the Chinese capital of Beijing, and also has a history of producing much of the country’s pollution.
The planting of trees is highly beneficial to the environment in multiple ways. Aside from improving the air quality, trees fight climate change by absorbing more carbon. One tree can collect up to 48 lbs of carbon a year. And, multiplied by the average 40 year lifespan of a tree, a whopping one ton of carbon can be sequestered. Taking into account these stats, we can safely say that the coming military campaign will dramatically improve the conditions of vegetation in the country.
Accounting for this situation through a geopolitical lens, we can see the strategic importance of the Chinese government to initiate such a move. The planting of trees directly affects the environment, and by extension all life.
Climate change is causing harsh weather conditions throughout the globe, which is a burden on vegetation and natural resources. The results of climate change result directly in poverty, instability, hunger, and death – which are major driving forces in terrorism and other socio-political crises.
Make no mistake, climate change is a global challenge. However, such an environmental concern is looming in a state of international contention. The West vs. East paradigm is expressing itself in the fact that the unilateral orientation of the West’s strategy attempts to choke the initiations of countries whose regimes operate outside the Atlanticist agenda.
This move by China could help improve the lives of millions of human beings, animals, and nature itself. This move once again marks a step in the direction that runs against the agenda of the West.
China’s road to socialism has been a winding road, leading from revolution to reformation. The rise of China as an industrial workers state, the establishment of socialism, the combatting of liberalism, reformation, and market “socialist” policies have all been in the fold. What does that mean? One thing is for certain: the rise of China to the status of a world power has offset the power balance, running counter to the unipolar, hegemonic agenda of the West.
China’s initiative to use its military to combat global warming through constructive ecological projects is a symbol of a new kind of superpower – one conscious of its responsibility to the future of the planet in the global framework of multipolarity. This is a stark contrast to the apocalyptic saber-rattling and anti-environmental rampaging that we have seen from the US.
It is also a clear rebuttal to China’s detractors who cite the environmental downsides of China’s rapid industrialization as “evidence” of some kind of careless, power-hungry drive for industrial supremacy, as if industrialization in the West was pure and pristine.
At the end of the day, it is China that is channeling its development into multipolarity, and it is China that is using its army to plant trees, not drop bombs.