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JOHN D LIU GREAT WORKS OF OUR TIME SPIER

We built a house 30 years ago in China. We had actually been in China for 40 years, and 30 years ago we built the house and we all grew old. And as I mentioned my father past away in December. And what happened to me was that in 1979, I had the opportunity to go to China, and when I got there I realised, making television in China would be more fun that making television in Chicago. And so I helped open the CBS News Bureau. I worked for a long time with other networks and China changed. It just completely changed from being a kind of a sleepy, radical, communist backwater, into a Global super power. Now, this was an amazing thing to observe…. So for 17 years, I was at the edge of this transformational change. And then I went to the Soviet Union and covered the collapse of the Soviet Union and a little bit of international terrorism. But in 1994 and 1995, the World Bank sent me to the Loess Plateau. What interesting about this is the Loess Plateau is the cradle of Chinese civilization. So this is where the largest ethnic group on the planet comes from. Loess is wind-born sediment. It is created by the movement of Glaciers and spread by the wind to the plateau below over geologic time. It is very minerally rich, if you imagine the glaciers smashing those Ignatius rocks and the very highly mineralised dust forming, but it requires organic material and microbial communities to be fertile, and because it’s the cradle of Chinese civilization if you dig around in there, you might find some interesting things. To the South West, there is this perfect system and when I got to the Loess Plateau, it looked like this. So what makes a system that must have been one of the most nurturing in the world, turn into a rud.

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