Environmental Entrepreneurship

Environmental Entrepreneurship

Markets Meet the Environment in Unexpected Places

Laura E. Huggins

In this innovative book, Laura E. Huggins finds path breaking entrepreneurial solutions to difficult environmental challenges in some of the world’s poorest areas. The approaches entrepreneurs are taking to these challenges involve establishing property rights and encouraging market exchange. From beehives to barbed wire, these tools are creating positive incentives and promoting both economic development and environmental improvements. The case studies are from the developing world and reveal where the biggest victories for less poverty and more conservation can be won. The pursuit begins by learning from local people solving local problems.

Chapter 5: The thirsty dragon

Laura E. Huggins

Subjects: development studies, agricultural economics, development studies, economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, environmental economics, management natural resources


When China opened its doors for the 2008 Olympic Games the world was exposed to the booming metropolis of Beijing – showcased with posh sport palaces, temples, and hotels. People also witnessed what seemed to be an environmentally friendly city. In preparation for the Olympics, China spent US$17 billion implementing green improvement schemes, such as adding thousands of natural gas buses, closing factories, seeding clouds, and planting trees across the city (United Nations 2009). They also diverted more than 150 million cubic meters (40 billion gallons) of water from the Yellow River to help hydrate the drought-stricken capital during the games (Platt 2008). When perspectives are brought into focus, however, the picture is much different. Despite what was seen at the Olympics, the People’s Republic of China is facing enormous environmental challenges. Chinese Environment Minister Zhou Shengxian wrote, “The depletion, deterioration and exhaustion of resources and the deterioration of the environment have become serious bottlenecks constraining economic and social development” (quoted in Jacobs 2011). Respiratory and heart diseases related to air pollution are the leading cause of death in China. And about 40 percent of the water in the country’s river systems is unfit for human consumption. In addition, desertification is sweeping across the country, with the total desert area increasing by about 1000 square miles a year (World Wildlife Foundation 2011).

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