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Monday, July 10, 2017

What’s Killing the Yellow River?

What’s Killing the Yellow River?

Rapid development is fueling China’s rise. The cost may be one of the country’s most vital natural resources.

When we look at a landscape, we tend to think of it as a static space. But it’s always changing. This is especially true on the North China Plain. From imperial times to the Maoist period to the recent reform phase, humans have tried to control the environment. The landscape retains traces of this struggle, making it a register of the past.

The first part of this ongoing project looked at China’s coal industry and the effect it’s had on the country. Since 2011 I’ve been working on the second part: following the Yellow River across northern China, documenting the roles that economic, political, and environmental policies play in this ever evolving story.

A sizable portion of China’s population and heavy industry—and about 40 percent of its farmland—are on the North China Plain. Yet the region has less than 10 percent of the country’s water. The control of water is a key part of governance; policy has a real impact on Chinese land and lives, but due to the country’s size, what happens here will have consequences globally as well.

Full story at

Source: National Geographic

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