CLAREMONT, May 1, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Photo taken on April 29, 2016 shows the 10th International Forum on Ecological Civilization in Claremont, the United States. The 10th International Forum on Ecological Civilization, organized around the impetus organic Marxism gives to ecological civilization and the balance between an ecological civilization and economic growth, gathered over 150 scholars and environmentalists from around the world. (Xinhua/Zhang Chaoqun)
CLAREMONT, the United States, April 30 (Xinhua) -- Organic Marxism and China's ecological civilization drive were the focus of a just-concluded international conference in Claremont, California.
The 10th International Forum on Ecological Civilization, organized around the impetus organic Marxism gives to ecological civilization and the balance between an ecological civilization and economic growth, gathered over 150 scholars and environmentalists from around the world.
"We are in the midst of a discussion, begun by Philip Clayton, about 'organic Marxism,'" said John Cobb Jr., a 91-year-old member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The forum with the theme of "Organic Marxism and Ecological Civilization" concluded on Saturday.
"Philip wrote the book 'Organic Marxism' for everyone, but, I think, especially with the needs and possibilities of China in view. It is my impression that the title and the project are playing in China just the role Philip wanted," Cobb said.
Cobb, a philosopher and environmentalist, said organic Marxism seeks to build a society in which all may work and all workers will flourish, not only economically, but also in other ways.
"I believe it will come closer to realizing the real concerns of Marx than any previous form his followers have developed," he said.
Written by Philip Clayton and Justin Heinzekehr, the book Organic Marxism: An Alternative to Capitalism and Ecological Catastrophe was published in 2014. The authors said that capitalism as a social and economic system has created massive injustices and devastated the environment, whereas organic Marxism calls for an economy that grows organically out of the existing cultural and economic situation and can be alternatives that may provide an answer to many of our problems.
Cobb said China is more open to serious discussions of ecological matters than the United States is. The deeper meaning of democracy, that the people as a whole can inform the government's decisions, "may well be better realized in China than in the oligarchy that the United States has been becoming."
"China is working as hard, or harder, than any of the others to deal responsibly with the frightening global problems," he said.
Clayton noted at the conference that China may be an inspiration for the pursuit of ecological civilization.
"The term 'ecological civilization' was born in China. It began to have influence more than 10 years ago, and it was written into the Five-Year Plan in 2012," he said.
The author said that Americans and others around the world immediately recognized that the Chinese idea of ecological civilization expresses the goal that all countries and cultures must move toward.
"For 10 years, our International Forums have promoted real action based on this ideal," Clayton said at a public plenary of the forum.
Zhu Guangqing, secretary general of the China Ecological Civilization Research and Promotion Association, said environmental pollution, ecological damage and resource shortages have become global problems, seriously threatening human survival.
"Such crises are forcing the transformation of civilization. Eco-civilization advocates the harmonious co-existence of human and nature as a win-win between development and environment. It carries forward the advantages of industrial civilization while overcoming the disadvantages," he said.
Zhu expounded on the latest developments in China regarding the pursuit of ecological civilization. In the past five years, the country's annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaged 7.8 percent, with annual energy consumption growing by 3.6 percent per year. Energy consumption per unit of GDP decreased by 18.2 percent, saving 860 million tons of standard coal, equivalent to 1.9 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
In 2015, China's resource output rate increased by 16 percent from that of 2010. More than 600 million tons of crop stalks have been used, with a comprehensive utilization rate of over 80 percent.
Energy consumption has been further optimized, with non-fossil energy now accounting for 12 percent of primary energy consumption, while the share of coal decreased from over 80 percent to 64.4 percent.
At the conference, Chinese farmer An Jinlei was honored with the Cobb Common Good award for spending over 20 years cultivating organic food and exploring biology agriculture in the northern province of Hebei.
"Ecological agriculture is an approach to agriculture that requires us to treat nature, earth and agriculture with respect, love and care, instead of snatching resources from them ruthlessly," he said.