CLAREMONT, the United States, April 27 (Xinhua) -- The 12th International Forum on Ecological Civilization, an initiative to create and promote new modes of development in China and the West, kicked off in Claremont, Southern California, Friday.
Themed "Ecological Civilization and Symbiotic Development", the two-day conference is hosted by the Institute for Postmodern Development of China, a non-profit organization.
Over 160 scholars from China, the United States and other countries are exchanging views on the latest developments in ecological civilization.
John B. Cobb Jr., a 93-year-old member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, called to improve the quality of community life in a way that would leave everyone better off while reducing the pressure on the natural environment, suggesting that China could lead the way.
"We need to describe the need in a different way, such as freeing everyone from degrading poverty while reducing the overall pressures on our natural environment," he said. "This would require changes in our lifestyle that are not now seriously discussed in any nation. Perhaps China can lead the way."
David Korten, co-founder and president of the Living Economies Forum,a non-profit that promotes positive living principles and a new economy grounded in them, said we have arrived at a defining moment in the human experience.
"Either we find our common path to an ecological civilization that meets the essential material needs of Earth's human population in a balanced relationship with (Earth's) natural systems, or we risk being the first Earth species knowingly to choose self-extinction," he said.
Korten, the author of influential books including "When Corporations Rule the World," and "The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community", said this poses a distinctive challenge to China, which must now choose between leading the world on one of two paths.
The mayor of Claremont, Opanyi Nasiali, welcomed scholars from around the world, saying, "I hope this conference stresses the importance of collaboration and strengthens the respect we must have for each other in this global village."