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China: The Green Olympics and an Actress as UN Eco Ambassador.

Categories: East Asia, China, Arts & Culture, Environment

Dan Beekman at “Blogging Beijing” gives a roundup of Beijing's environmental problems and its hopes. He interviews NGO and student leaders about the Green Olympics [1], one of the three themes of this year's Games. He ‘s also recently interviewed Mr. Wu Dengming, an environmental powerhouse from Chongqing [2], in middle China.
Mr. Wu had this to say about the end of the Games:

After the Olympics, this [environmental] movement will continue. China can't go back. Now people know what needs to happen. Organizations like ours are starting to play a bigger role in society.

UNESCO leader Gaoming Jiang talks about Beijing's massive water problems [3] on China Dialogue. Beijing's waterways suffer from pollution (a cocktail of fertilizers and even excrement), and a severe lack of water. He also has some expert opinions on cleaning up, with the concluding suggestion being

… ecological management must be linked to poverty alleviation and wealth creation. The challenges faced in protecting water sources are manmade problems. We should take the initiative by helping these areas solve energy problems with methane production technology and a more distributed infrastructure. We must also help with hygiene by building waste and water treatment plants. This will ensure the areas have adequate vegetation coverage, produce enough water, and it will guarantee that the water flowing into reservoirs is clean.

At Treehugger [4], Alex Pasternack comments on the U.N. Development Program's decision to make a Chinese celebrity National Goodwill Ambassador [5] to promote the environment. Actress Zhou Xun starred in Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress and the moving Chinese movie Suzhou River [6]. He says…

In a country where the rhetoric [7] on environmental protection seems inversely proportionate to public awareness [8] (especially [9] among young people [10]!), celebrity environmentalism may be one of the more effective ways to get the message out. And aside from fur-wearing Gong Li [11] (or Leo [12], on a recent stop in Hong Kong), few stars in China have become known for their green choices. Too bad. Star-powered campaigns can be a relief from the typical government initiatives…