In view of the increasingly worsening environment, a group of
environmental protection volunteers in China has launched the Green
Consumption campaign to encourage all Chinese people to work
together to protect the nation's blue skies and green fields.
Chen Kaifeng, 39 years old, is one of the volunteers. By working
odd jobs, he has managed to walk across 23 provinces in China, covering a total distance
of some 60,000 kilometers. During his six-year long march, Chen has
delivered nearly 2,800 speeches in a bid to call public attention
to environmental protection. Today, he has been appointed by 1,200
schools as extracurricular instructor to teach students about the
importance of environmental protection.
In a recent interview, Chen Kaifeng shared his story with the
journal China Youth:
I was born in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province, in east coastal
China. The world famous Grand Canal connecting Beijing and Hangzhou
ran through my hometown. During my childhood I remember that the
town was like a paradise, with blue skies and crystal clear water.
Regrettably, in recent years the river is getting murkier and
When I was 33 years old, I worked for a newspaper as a
correspondent. In my spare time, I hosted programs on a local radio
station. But I felt suffocated by such an unchanging life. I wanted
something new and exciting.
When my crazy idea came upon me, I was strolling along a river.
I made up my mind right there and then that I would walk across the
whole country and investigate our environmental protection
situation. In every place I visited, I decided to set up an
environmental protection organization. On my way, I would also
collect various effective environmental protection methods and
spread this knowledge to as many people as possible.
In 2001, I quit my job and finally prepared myself. On my
departure day, my parents came to see me off. When I waved goodbye
to them, I saw clearly the tears swirling in their eyes. Their
reluctant farewell made my heart break. But I was bound to fulfill
my duty and so I embarked on my journey.
In the past six years, I have developed a fixed set of working
procedures. When I arrive at a new place, the first thing I will do
is to collect information about the local environmental situation.
I will then ask schools or resident communities for permission to
deliver speeches, hold discussions, or conduct other activities
like inviting people to sign a banner to show their support for an
environmental protection drive. (More)
A son's wish
"We're a group of young environmental protection volunteers.
We're Li Haiyang, Ma Jian, Li Chunyan, Feng Qinghua and Ding Li. We
hope you will join our environmental protection group."
One month ago, I attended the "Green Binhai Challenging
Activity" held by the Binhai Channel of the Tianjin People's Radio.
I was elected as the leader of the project "promoting the use of
environmentally-friendly shopping bags". On that night, I wrote my
oath in the "environmental protection green angel" blog to call on
more volunteers to join in our cause.
In 2000, I went to study in Cyprus. There, the way the locals
love their environment and resources impressed me deeply. Usually
parents teach their children from early childhood to save energy
resources and get close to nature. Because of this they have the
habit of showing respect for the environment around them.
I went back home in 2003 and found the environment around me in
China was not very good. "Use-and-throw" plastic bags can be seen
everywhere: hanging down the branches of trees along the sidewalks,
floating in park lakes. They are unable to decompose naturally and
consequently they pile up as waste and make our cities look ugly.
Research shows that each year our country wastes more than one
million tons of plastics.
Many countries are campaigning against white pollution --
plastic bags. In Germany, shoppers have to buy plastic bags in the
supermarkets. Germans usually go shopping with cloth bags or rattan
baskets. And Koreans also use cloth or paper bags to wrap their
goods to reduce their usage of plastic bags.
I took part in this activity and worked together with other
volunteers to promote the use of environmentally friendly shopping
bags. I spent about 70 percent of my time on this activity. After
heated discussions, members of my group quickly took actions
separately: some went to seek business sponsorship. A company could
print a small size advertisement on environmentally friendly
shopping bags for only 300-500 yuan (US$40.01-66.68).Others went to
find appropriate factories to produce the environmentally friendly
shopping bags at the lowest possible price.
Later we went to distribute these shopping bags free of charge
in supermarkets or around communities. People could get an
environmentally friendly shopping bag in exchange for five plastic
We encountered many setbacks during this month-long activity but
also gained some unexpected achievements.
Two factories were willing to produce the shopping bags. They
produced 3，000 shopping bags at the price of 1.6 yuan (US$0.21)
Environmental protection: priority for
"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
Another salesman sees Wang and smiles: "No plastic bag girl
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
Wang was born in 1986 and was elected to the Tunza Youth
Advisory Council of United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) on 30
She attended the TUNZA-NEAYEN in Tokyo, Japan this
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
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. (More)
(China.org.cn November 5, 2007)