Born and raised in Chicago, Brian Linden has lived for 18 years in Xizhou, Southwest China’s Yunnan Province. Erhai is the mother lake of Dali and its people. In 1996, 2003 and 2013, algal and water blooms tainted the Erhai basin. Fish and aquatic plants died as the ecology of the lake came under serious threat.
In response, the local government launched a series of harsh measures. To save Erhai, the local government faced a series of difficult tradeoffs which Linden documents. Some immediate economic gains needed to be set aside in the pursuit of long-term environmental benefits not solely for Dali, but also for China and the rest of the world.
(Produced by Lin Rui, Xie Runjia and Zhao Dantong; Intern Hou Chenchen also contributed to this story.)