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Campus action: Chinese students take a stand

Universities across China are buzzing with green activity, says Li Peng. From book swaps and fashion shows, to climate conferences and the Live Earth concerts, student green groups are leading the way.

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Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University is well-known for its trees and lawns, but visit today and you might find yourself appreciating another kind of “green”. Bins to deposit batteries for recycling are dotted around, while paper recycling facilities are seen all about campus. There are regular second-hand markets where books, including unwanted textbooks, find new homes. Invitations to save water and electricity are posted next to taps and light switches.

 

Environmental activities have become ever more frequent at Tsinghua over the last few years, and they now account for a significant proportion of the campus cultural life. “Green Tsinghua day” is in its tenth year, and includes exhibitions, lectures and events encouraging reduction in plastic bag usage and paper recycling. It has had a lasting effect on thousands of students; efforts by student green groups have succeeded in persuading many students to make changes to their day-to-day lifestyles. 

 

 

 

At Peking University, another of China’s leading universities, the environment is also a key concern. The Peking University Environment and Development Association is China’s longest-established campus green group. It has been involved in awareness-raising, educational and practical activities for 16 years. In October 2006 they formed the first youth group in China to focus on climate change: the Clean Development Mechanism Club, and produced the “Handbook for Youth Action on Climate Change”. On Earth Day this year, the group surveyed climate-change awareness across 19 Chinese universities, at the same time as it organised activities to educate students about the causes and consequences of climate change, its urgency and the students’ own responsibility. With support from the China Environmental Protection Foundation, the group is currently carrying out a campus energy audit to understand the contribution universities make to greenhouse-gas emissions.

 

Beijing Normal University has also featured a range of green activities run by student environmental groups, including fashion shows with environmental themes such as “the atmosphere”, “forests” and “water”.

Meanwhile, Jiaotong University Student Association in Shanghai left campus to visit the city’s most polluted district: Shenzhuang, and take the message of environmental protection into communities and schools.

 

Beijing Jiaotong University has been promoting energy conservation and saving water since 1987, and has adopted a range of technologies to achieve this end. In all, the university says, it has saved 5 million cubic metres of water and 1.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity. This tradition is an important part of what students are taught and are encouraged to sustain, and it has become an important part of the university’s culture.

 

Some universities are even making these ideals a compulsory part of student life. Zhejiang Forestry Institute has far stronger rules on the use of water, power, air-conditioning and public spaces than many other institutions.

 

Now, whether you are at Fudan University, Nanjing University or Xi’an Jiaotong University, almost all of China’s universities have students working to promote environmental awareness, persuading hundreds of thousands of fellow students to make changes to their lifestyles.

 

Active student environmental groups in China number 2,500, according to incomplete statistics. And they are linking up, exchanging experiences and organising regional – and even national – events. For example:  

 

• In March, Campus green groups in Chongqing joined forces to publish guidelines for student groups working on climate-change issues, with the aim of launching large-scale activities to promote water conservation, energy efficiency and emissions reduction.

• A number of Chinese universities, including Wuhan University and Renmin University, held a conference in Wuhan in June to promote on-campus green activities.

• In July, the Shanghai Live Earth concert became a platform on which the China University Students Environmental Organisation Forum brought together student green groups to make a statement on the need to combat climate change.

• Students from nine universities in Beijing used their summer vacation to teach cadres, farmers and teachers in rural areas about environmental technology.

• In August, groups including Peking University’s Clean Development Mechanism Club and the China University Students Environmental Organisation Forum formed the China Youth Climate Change Action Network to guide student and youth projects on environmental issues. Twenty-three of these groups are developing a database of power use and emissions on China’s campuses.  

• Eleven universities and research institutes, including Beijing Forestry University, North-Eastern Forestry University and Nanjing Forestry University, in October held a competition to increase understanding of forestry’s relation to climate-change issues.

 

 

 

 

Hope for the future

From energy efficiency to mitigating climate change, China’s students are looking for solutions. A lack of resources and experience, fundraising, management and publicity do present problems, and it is often difficult for groups to feel they have a lasting and wide-ranging impact. If they continue to care and to act, however, progress will continue.

Chinese people sometimes refer to university students as “flowers of the motherland.” When our students graduate and leave university, their green lifestyles and concern for the environment will influence society as a whole. Let us hope that the Chinese people, already enjoying the fruits of economic growth, will then come to live more environmentally friendly lives and show concern for the worsening ecology of China and the world – and work to find solutions.

 

Li Peng is a Masters student at Tsinghua University.

 
 

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Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

中国的大学生终于行动起来了

未来之万幸,中华之万幸。

Chinese Undergraduates Finally Take Actions

Fortunate for the future, fortunate for China!

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

青年人是祖国的希望

文章的结尾说的太对了。青年人才是希望,他们是早上八九点钟的太阳,只有青年人的环保意识被唤醒并且付诸行动,我们的环境保护事业才有希望。很高兴看到中国的年轻人也有行动,祝愿他们做的越来越好,也祝愿中外对话越来越好

The youth are hope of our motherland.

The article ending is too right. The youth are hope and morning sun. Only has the youth been awaken to put to the motion, our envirmental protection enterprise is hopeful. I’m so glad to see that chinese young people are taking action. Wishes them to do well, also wishes the Chinese dialogue to be better.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

文章内容挺充实的

看了一下文章,内容很充实,希望在这里还能读到关于中国青年应对气候变化的文章

The content of this article is pretty good and interesting

I think the content of this article is very interesting and I hope to read here other articles about the actions of Chinese youth in answer to the climate change.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

中国也有声音了

看了前几篇,一直纳闷怎么没有中国大学生的消息

Chinese people have their say

After reading the preceding news/stories, I am wondering how come there is no news on Chinese university students at all. (There should be some stories talking about them.)

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

中国需要依靠这些大学生的力量强大自己,现在关注环保问题还不是太迟,越早对每个人越有益。继续前进,中国!

interesting

China should stand up for itself, with the help of student power it can, it is not too late to address these issues, the quicker the better for everyone, keep going china!

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

让我们共筑桥梁

非常感谢李鹏撰写这篇文章。很高兴得知中国学生在全国构建一个可持续的未来。我希望我们能跨越语言的障碍,共筑西方与中国在青少年气候行动中的桥梁。我经常在“青少年气候行动”机构的媒体工程《这里越来越热》(http://ItsGettingHotInHere.org)上撰写有关美国青少年气候行动的文章。我在那里转载了此文章,以便西方的学生和青少年能够读到中国的年轻人为构建一个可持续的、公平和繁荣的未来所做出的努力,这也正是全球各国渴求的目标。我希望你们都能加入这个媒体工程(ItsGettingHotInHere),帮助宣传中国学生和年轻人的故事。联系方式:[email protected]我们团结一致!杰西·詹金斯

"瀑布气候网络" www.CascadeClimate.org

有关青少年气候行动的更多信息请关注:http://ItsGettingHotInHere.org

Let's build bridges

Thank you Peng Li for this post. It's great to hear about Chinese students organizing for a sustainable future all across China. I hope we can build bridges across language barriers between youth climate movements in the West and in China.

I write frequently about the American youth climate movement at ItsGettingHotInHere - Dispatches from the youth climate movement (http://ItsGettingHotInHere.org).

I posted this article there so that students and youth in the West can read about the efforts that young people in China are making to build the same sustainable, just, and prosperous future that youth across the globe are striving for.

I'd encourage you to join the ItsGettingHotInHere contributors group to help tell the stories of students and youth in China. Please email blogmaster[at]itsgettinghotinhere.org to get in touch.

We stand in solidarity!

Jesse Jenkins
___________________________
Cascade Climate Network
www.CascadeClimate.org

Check out http://ItsGettingHotInHere.org for frequent dispatches from the youth climate movement...

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

有多少人关注环境问题

很高兴听到学生们对中国的环境问题的关注。但这在学生中占多大比例呢?是所有的学生都有此意识,还是只存在于一小部分人中?我在科罗拉多大学,这儿的学生对环境问题不屑一顾,这点令人诧异。我敢说,大概有三分之一或一半的学生认为气候变化只是政治宣传。事实上,我和我的三个朋友主修环境学,我们做研究并深信气候变化,但我还有两个朋友也是这个专业,他们却从政治角度看问题,认为这纯粹是瞎说。这样不同的观点令人咋舌。从这点来看,这篇文章是全面反映了中国学生在环境问题上所持的立场吗?

who is involved?

Good to hear that students are taking a large interest in the environment in China. How much of the student population is involved in this kind of thing? Are all the students this informed, or is it only a small portion? I'm attending University of Colorado in Boulder, and its surprising the amount of students who take the environment as a non-issue. I would say somewhere between a third and a half of the students think that climate change is propaganda. In fact, while three of my friends and I that are environmental studies majors, going into research, fully believe in climate change, I have two other friends, also environmental studies but going into the policy side of things, who thing its completely made up. Kind of scary. So does this article tell the full story of students environmental stand in China?

-Rick

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

请分清科学与政治

全球变暖是自然规律,与二氧化碳无关。中国人有竺可桢的物候学理论,更不应该盲目跟从。另外,中国的变暖是环境污染造成的,与国外的二氧化碳造成变暖有本质性区别。请多关注一下污染物排放问题吧,这方面问题更大。

班门弄斧

Is This Science or Politics?

Global warming is a rule of nature and have no connection with carbon dioxide. In china, we can study and follow the phenology of Zhukezhen, the famous meteorologist. Thus, we should avoid blind following of trends. Plus, domestic warming of climate in China is caused by environmental pollution, which is an essential difference from the conditions of foreign countries--carbon dioxide cause the warming. Please pay more attention to the problem of pollutant diacharge, which deserve more effort. Banmen Nongfu.

This comment is translated by Stacy Xu.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

Action taken, rather than heart shaken

Its time for us, university students to take a stand, lets start from life details!

(by Fangfang CHEN)

心动不如行动

我们大学生是该发动起来了,从身边的点滴做起!