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[Poverty Alleviation Through a Lens] Poverty alleviation in the Kubuqi Desert seen through a photographer’s lens (2)

p.china.org.cn, June 16, 2017 Adjust font size:

Extreme poverty often goes hand-in-hand with a hostile environment. As President Xi Jinping puts, lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets. This development concept is of vital importance to farmers and herdsmen who have called the desert their home for generations. They long for the green more eagerly than anyone else, because it symbolizes hope for poverty alleviation in the desert. 100,000 farmers and herdsmen residing in the Kubuqi Desert, the seventh largest in China, have found a route to prosperity, thanks to this simple yet dialectical concept.

Located 800 km northwest of Beijing, Kubuqi was called “a basin of sand above the capital”. Just 30 years ago, it was a barren land. Farmers and herdsmen living within its confines have long suffered from its bitter offerings. After scientific management, one third of the vast 18,600-km2 land has been reclaimed and is now covered with vegetation. As a result, farmers and herdsmen have experienced an increase of annual per capita income from less than 400 yuan (U.S. $59) in 1990 to 14,000 yuan (U.S. $2,059) today.

The great transformation in the Kubuqi Desert caught the eye of George Steinmetz, a renowned American photographer. In September 2016 and again in April 2017, he visited the Kubuqi Desert and captured this special landscape for audiences around the world, winning millions of “likes” across online message abroad.

Over the past 20 years, George Steinmetz has presented both beauty and sadness through spectacular images of deserts around the globe, captured from a fresh perspective on paramotors. In spite of his rich experience with deserts, he was deeply shocked by what he witnessed flying above the Kubuqi Desert, “Desert means extremely bad environments, a shortage of resources and poor living conditions. But the Kubuqi Desert in China is different; it is a desert of green and hope.”

What differentiates the Kubuqi Desert in George Steinmetz’s eyes? Let’s take a look through his lens.

[Beautiful Scenery]

Lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets. In Kubuqi, ecological protection offers hope to local farmers and herdsmen for poverty alleviation. [Photo by George Steinmetz]

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