Shaping Our Harmonious Worlds
We live on one earth, yet in diversified worlds of natural, economic, social and cultural variety. These diversified worlds are being transformed by globalization, while at the same time they face global climate change and are undergoing profound environmental, economic, social and cultural changes. Our worlds are also roiled with conflicts between humankind and nature, between nations, between regions, between city and countryside, and between social classes; challenges that are made worse by the mismatch of scales between global problems and the necessity to address them on national scales in ways that respect differences among the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities, and between scientific thinking and policy making.
In response to these related challenges, we need to devise harmonious approaches. We cannot reach sustainability if our diverse worlds are not harmonious. The goals of harmony, long advocated in Chinese culture, rest on a cosmic view of nature and humankind, a state in which all nations live together peacefully, based on ‘harmony but not sameness’, and moral principles of kindness and gentleness. We believe that the Chinese culture of harmony can make contributions to shaping harmonious worlds.
Geography aims not only to describe and explain but also to understand and coordinate our worlds. Characterized by integration and spatio-temporal differentiation studies, geography provides a unique perspective for shaping harmonious worlds. The 2016 International Geographical Congress in Beijing, China will be a forum for geographers from all over the world and from all geographic specialties to convene in the land that advocates ‘harmony, but not sameness’, and to communicate their advanced knowledge, insights, viewpoints, techniques, and research results to better understand and respond to changes, coordinate conflicts, and bridge gaps in order to shape a sustainable Earth.