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This story is part of our news archives, prior to July 2010.

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Elizabeth talks about her response paper, how she prepared and what it felt like to hold a discourse with global leaders on China's environmental problems.

From Elizabeth Larson—

The International Roundtable of 2009 was an unforgettable experience. It gave me the chance to explore a topic that I am passionate about – the future of our global environment – and to engage with scholars outside of our community who have expertise in my field of interests. I was the respondent to Dr. Elizabeth Economy, a Council on Foreign Relations Fellow who specializes in China and their environmental problems. To prepare I read her book, The River Runs Black, over the summer. Up until this point I have mostly concentrated on Southern Africa, so the Roundtable presented to me an excellent opportunity to learn about another geographic area through the same lens. It was amazing to be able to work with Dr. Economy’s paper and be able to contribute to the conversation about environmental issues in the 21st century.

Read Elizabeth's response to Dr. Economy's speech»

I learned that pollution in China is even more rampant and systemic than I had previously believed, and that one of the biggest hurdles they need to overcome is strengthening the rule of law in order to be able to enforce environmental regulations. The connection between environmental problems and political unrest was the most interesting aspect of the conversation for me, and shed new light on how important it is for states to protect people’s health through promoting a healthy environment.


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