Inner Mongolia: Striving for green

By Martyn Joseph Newlands |
Updated: July 23, 2023
A world media representative takes pictures inside the M-GRASS group bio-dome. [Photo by Martyn Joseph Newlands/]

Inner Mongolia has a biodiverse eco-system, from wetland to grasslands to desert, the province is probably one of the most diverse within China, something that the local government recognises and supports whole heartily. When I was invited along to "A date with China" tour in Inner Mongolia, I jumped at the chance to see what they were doing internally to support not only their economy but their eco-system too.

The province is most notably known for its grasslands and desert, showcasing the bio-diverse landscapes within Inner Mongolia. The M-GRASS Group Seed Industry Center in Hohhot, the province's capital city, holds a vast and extensive collection of soil samples, seeds, plants and vegetations found throughout the area. The company provides local solutions for the ecological restoration of grasslands and deserts, focusing on the protection of their biodiversity. The company showed us around their abundant collection of seeds and soil and showcased the work they are doing in ecological restoration throughout Inner Mongolia, in a bid to keep the region in all its current glory.

M-GRASS group’s bio-dome. [Photo by Martyn Joseph Newlands/]

Through the Belt and Road Initiative, the company has shared its resources within the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, providing natural grass and grass seeds, as well as the exportation of its ecological restoration technology. Through this the company has built a bridge between the three countries, helping to enhance their grass and seed industries. M-GRASS, a leading enterprise within China's forestry industry, has also implemented important ecological restoration projects such throughout the Yellow River Valley, helping to protect and restore the area.

They took us into one of their bio-domes, which featured wildlife thriving in their own grown grass and vegetation. The biodome resembled much of the area in Scotland where I am from, the Northeast, with rich green grass and moss that engulfed the surrounding trees, giving me a nostalgic feeling for the forests I would run through as a child. It was a far cry from the urban landscape of Beijing that I am typically used to. I was intrigued and fascinated by the ecological work that M-GRASS were putting into their land that they love so much.

Wild horses roam around the grasslands in Baotou. [Photo by Martyn Joseph Newlands/]

We were taken to one of the many grasslands within the province, situated in Baotou, to explore the peace it had to offer. The grasslands offered tranquillity close to the city's heart, an escape for the people who lived nearby. The local government had lots of protocols in place to keep the land prosperous and thriving. We were taken to a horse stable and introduced to the beautiful animals that this region respects so much, and we were given the chance to ride them. The horses were able to wander freely in the grassland area with their riders, it was hard to imagine that a bustling city was a stone's throw away.

Inner Mongolia's love and appreciation for horses also transcends into their ecological conservation efforts, which was evident when we visited the Dalate "lead from the Front" Solar Farm. The solar farm, which holds the Guinness World Record for largest solar panel image, is in the shape of a horse. The solar farm is made from 196,000 panels and produces over 2 billion kilowatt- hours annually, cutting carbon emissions by 1.65 million tons per year. The shear vastness of the solar panel was a sight in itself. Situated within the desert, the solar farm used a smart system to alter the positions of the panels every 15 minutes, in order to align them with the sun and make the most of the sun's power. Stretching over 60,000 mu, the solar farm is a clear example of China's dedication to curbing their carbon emissions and their ability to utilize the environments they have available.

An Erdos group machine refines the cashmere wool for manufacturing. [Photo by Martyn Joseph Newlands/]

An unexpected treasure for me on this trip was our visit to the Erdos Group, which has ranked first in China's textile and clothing industry for 17 years in a row. The company is situated in Ordos, an area that specializes in cashmere products and accounts for 13% of the worlds output of cashmere. The area is a prime spot for the cultivation of cashmere, providing the cashmere goats with all the nutrients they need to grow the soft undercoats they are famous for. Our tour of the group showcased the entire production line for their products, from cultivating the raw materials to the sewing of garment labels. As fast fashion has taken over the world, we as consumers often don't think about the ecological process our clothes come from, so to see it first-hand has really made me think more ethically about sourcing my clothes in the future. The group is dedicated to providing luxury cashmere products whilst manufacturing them in an environmentally sustainable environment.

The ecological efforts the Inner Mongolia is putting into its region are beneficial to its economy and in turn beneficial to the BRI. The region is able to symbiotically rely on its urban and country landscapes to prosper in the modern day era, a feat that is hard to achieve, but somehow Inner Mongolia makes it look effortless.

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