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Environmental protection: priority for Chinese girl
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"I want these four apples and I don't need a plastic bag," Wang Fengzhu, a junior at Huazhong Agricultural University said to the salesman working in the school's fruit store. The salesman is a little surprised so he still puts the apples in a plastic bag and hands them to her. Wang adroitly takes the apples out, puts them in her black duffel bag and returns the plastic bag to the salesman.

Another salesman sees Wang and smiles: "No plastic bag girl again!"

It's Wang's habit to go out shopping with her duffel bag. "It just came back from Japan with me," Wang says pointing at her black duffel bag. Every time Wang saves a plastic bag, she feels a sense of achievement.

Wang was born in 1986 and was elected to the Tunza Youth Advisory Council of United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) on 30 August 2007.

She attended the TUNZA-NEAYEN in Tokyo, Japan this September.

Wang speaks fluent English. She is also very talkative. More than 180 delegates from 145 countries participated in the UNEP's meeting held in Germany this August. Wang talked about the Korean star Rain with Koreans and the footballer Kaka with Brazilians… Most of the delegates got acquainted with her in less than a week.

Before the election for the Tunza Youth Advisory, each delegate had a last chance to give a speech. Wang happened to bump her head on the last night and had a bandage tied up around her head.

"I just donated my blood to this meeting and I believe that I can do much better in the future," Wang said. Her joke won everybody's applause; ultimately she was elected to the Tunza Youth Advisory Council of the UNEP.

Environmental protection has always been Wang's priority.

When she was in Japan this September, Disneyland could be seen from the window of her room. She gave up the opportunity to visit it even though it had been her childhood dream to go there. "I didn't want to miss the chance to communicate with other delegates about environmental protection," Wang said.

Wang likes reading books on environmental protection. She learned a lot about London fog and the Los Angeles photochemical smog episode when she was in elementary school.

A year and a half ago Wang became a member of the Green Association of HZAU (Huazhong Agricultural University, based in Wuhan City in central China.) And there she participated in her first environmental protection activity.

She spent her first college summer vacation near Liangzi Lake and Huama Lake in Ezhou, Hubei Province. She and her fellows taught local kids lessons on environmental protection for 11 days.

In the games section, Wang asked students to write down the names of the animals that they knew on the blackboard. And then she asked the kids: "We chop down trees everyday, where will the birds be if they lose their nests?" "They will be sad and then they will die," a kid said. Wang then erased the bird from the blackboard. "The kids were surprised. Many kids cried when the animals were all erased. They promised to protect animals and plants in the future," Wang said.

Those innocent tears moved Wang very much. "I decided to devote my strength to environmental protection so the kids wouldn't cry any more," she explained.

When Wang was in Germany for the meeting, an old German man sat beside her. Wang said to him using the German that she just learned: "Good morning, it is really fragrant here." The old man's answer shocked Wang. "That's because there's no pollution here. It's the fragrance of the nature." Wang thought for a moment, "China will have the same fragrance if you come to Beijing in 2008," she replied firmly.

Environmental protection is Wang's priority but she thinks that her environmental efforts start with small things.

She often takes a pair of chopsticks with her and uses them when eating in school's dining hall or eating off campus.

Once a student in her classroom tore up a piece of paper and dropped it on the floor. Wang picked it up quickly. The student was very embarrassed and put the wastepaper in his pocket. "What I did may change his view on environmental protection," Wang said proudly.

Greeting cards are everywhere with the advent of Christmas and the New Year. Wang and other volunteers in the Green Association advocated "sending fruits instead of cards." And they will deliver the fruits for free.

Wang is not alone. The Green Association has more than 1000 members. Most colleges in Wuhan have set up associations for environmental protection. These associations have good communications with each other and conduct joint activities.

Wang's aim is to become a postgraduate student in sociology to improve her theory and knowledge. After graduation, she wants to be a professional environmentalist to make China's mountains greener, China's water cleaner.

( by Li Xiaohua November 5, 2007)

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