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From the industrial revolution in the mid-18th century to the 21st century of today, the global population has grown from 1 billion to 7.5 billion. Human activity has gradually become the most important factor affecting the earth and changing it. Consequently, the Earth is said by some to be gradually moving from the current Holocene geological epoch toward an "Anthropocene" epoch.

The 20th century was an era in which technological civilization achieved rapid prosperity and made prodigious progress. Due to virtually day-by-day advances in information and internet technology, humanity enjoyed an unprecedented array of new products, new services and hitherto unimaginable new life experiences; it was an era full of innovation and amazement. Unfortunately, it was also a century full of military clashes and conflict, many parts of the world were ravaged by endless wars. The century saw more than 100 major or minor wars (discounting civil wars), and of them, more than 20 were large-scale international conflicts. Naturally, this includes the two World Wars that resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people.

In addition to military conflicts, in later years the world has experienced an endless stream of various sorts of international trade wars, financial wars, hacker wars, and terrorist attacks. The global population explosion and the consuming-oriented economy, as augmented by the technological development, have brought negative impacts to global environment and human society. Global crises, such as environmental damage, a widening gap between rich and poor, and global climate change, became increasingly severe. By the end of the 20th century, human beings of the time generally felt anxious and troubled to an unprecedented degree.

In the 21st century, the global world order was heading toward multipolarity. Many contradictions arising from the process of economic globalization have become increasingly glaring and antagonistic. Democracy has begun to show signs of chaotic decline. Many scholars feel that the major cornerstones of modern Western governance, such as capitalism, free individualism and realism are step-by-step becoming mired in bottlenecks. Add to this the rise of the non-Western world, all this implies that the global order is about to enter a lengthy process of disintegration and restructuring. Is it not manifest that the philosophy of governance derived from traditional Western values is insufficient to cope with the increasingly severe global crises spinning out of control, let alone the sustainable development of mankind?

To respond to the problems, Dr. Chao-shiuan Liu, the chairman of the foundation of Chinese Culture for Sustainable Development, is convinced that promotion of a new Renaissance is necessary if Chinese culture “Wang Dao” is to make a major contribution to the world today. He recruited different experts from enterprises, public sectors, and academic institutions to build up a research team and to create Wang Dao Sustainability Index, WDSI, based on serial “Wang Dao” studies and cross-disciplinary dialogues over the years.