The rise and passion of China's 'green' NGOs

By Jessica Zhang
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, January 1, 2011
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Following his previous literary success, "Run Faster, Cow Mom!," winner of the Bingxin Prize for Children's Literature in 2010, Cao Baoyin, the author and executive opinion writer for The Beijing News, is promoting his new book, "Stories of China's Environmental NGOs," which systematically details the development of Chinese nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and reveals the shared spirit of these organizations.

The book, published by the Foreign Languages Press, is available in both Chinese and English editions.

Since the late 1970s, 3,539 Chinese NGOs from various industries have been formally registered and have affected change through voluntary initiatives, ideas and concrete measures. Currently, NGOs play an important role in improving and enhancing people's consciousness toward environmental protection.

Cao touts the efforts of Liang Congjie, who was the first director of Friends of Nature, an association established in 1994. Friends of Nature has been continually promoting environmental protection to the public. Liang's low-profile approach and attention to detail have inspired many to be proactive toward protecting their local environment.

In this book, Cao recounts many stories about Liang, in the subheading, "All Dreams Have a Common Beginning". For example, Liang's devotion to practicing what he preaches sincerely in every trivial aspect of daily life.

Cao also describes vividly a host of leaders in the "green" movement and their endeavors, such as Liao Xiaoyi and the Global Village, advocate for Huaihe River protection Huo Daishan, President of the Green Earth Volunteers Wang Yongchen, and Ma Jun and the "polluted" map he created, which highlights polluted areas throughout China.

In addition, Cao praises the young Fang Minghe and the Green Eyes organization, which works to protect wild animals. He writes: "The song 'We Are All Good Children' is Fang Minghe's favorite with the words 'We are all good children, the most innocent children, recalling distant memories of happiness or loneliness; we are all good children, children indulging in the wildest fantasies, shedding tears together for happiness…' Yes, Fang is a good child, as well as all the Green Eyes volunteers, and from all these children, people can see the future of the NGOs."

Cao not only writes about others' efforts to protect the environment but also volunteers himself in the effort.

"Environmental protection is not a hollow slogan, it is related to our genuine daily lives; environmental protection is not a shadowy idea, but is related to each individual's practical life," he says.

And Cao's stories burst with authenticity, viscerally moving the reader.

"When the country or native soil is not that country or that native soil, when spring is more and more silent, when the wild flowers are more and more difficult to find…Our homes are flat and uninteresting no matter how they are decorated." will feature some stories from Cao's newest book in coming days.

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