Gaia 1-0 China

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A report in the NYT the other day, Plan for China’s Water Crisis Spurs Concern, provides an update on the ambitious attempt by the Chinese government to redirect water from the south of the country to the increasingly dry north.

The Chinese, it seems, have a very sanguine view of their ability to control the forces of nature. As Chairman Mao once famously declared:

Natural science is one of man’s weapons in his fight for freedom. For the purpose of attaining freedom in society, man must use social science to understand and change society and carry out social revolution. For the purpose of attaining freedom in the world of nature, man must use natural science to understand, conquer and change nature and thus attain freedom from nature.

Speech at the inaugural meeting of the Natural Science Research Society of the Border Region (February 5, 1940).

As no-one has yet successfully managed to replicate biodiversity, I confidently predict that this plan will add to China’s water problems rather than ameliorate them. What worries me most is that there does not seem to be a ‘Plan B’, or at least it is not publicly stated. Where will China go for its water when the well runs completely dry?