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After Beijing's 'green Olympics'

With the flame now extinguished at the "Bird’s Nest" stadium, China should unite the country around the great successes – and formidable challenges – of the green Olympics, writes Wen Bo.

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When the Olympic flag was unfurled at the "Bird’s Nest" stadium in Beijing, the Chinese leaders at the scene must have been wondering what the Games would mean to China after the closing ceremonies. The 51 gold medals won by China have probably been enough to ease the pain and frustration of their star athlete Liu Xiang’s sudden departure from the 110-metre hurdles. 

This year, the Chinese people have experienced the tragic Sichuan earthquake and the glory of Olympic fanfare, uniting us in sorrow and pain as well as inspiring us with the spirit of international cooperation. With such a dramatic backdrop, it is inevitable that the Chinese people feel a sense of loss after the Olympics. China and its people will need to look for a new cause to unite the country—a cause championed by its leaders and pursued by its people. 

In fact, China has already embarked on the path of this cause. These Olympics were advertised as the “green Olympics.” From banning plastic bags to shutting down factories and reducing the number of cars on the road, Beijing has started to create an environmental and people-friendly city. And in the past 10 years, Beijing citizens, for the first time, can experience the convenience of public transportation and unclogged roads as well as improved air quality.   

From the presence of numerous state leaders at the opening ceremony to the thousands of Olympic volunteers, Chinese authorities should realise that the international community and the Chinese people have all been wishing China well. The communist rulers should have confidence in their own people that we can help find environmental solutions for China’s unparalleled environmental challenges. Just as athletes need support and freedom to train for gold medals, so do citizens and civil society organizations need support and freedom to help China find effective environmental solutions that will benefit the entire country. 

Prior to the Olympics, most of these nongovernmental groups have been screened due to fear that they could create trouble during the Games. But this fear has proven to be unwarranted. Instead, the government should regard these groups as natural allies and should work together with them to protect the environment, reduce poverty, improve education, fight diseases, and protect public health. 

The Chinese public must be at the forefront of an effective response to China’s environmental challenges. Currently, China’s environmental movement is organising conservation efforts, leading education programs, and engaging community members in volunteer work. Chinese environmental organisations also have a unique opportunity to work with the government to implement environmental regulations and emulate Beijing’s environmental achievements nationwide. 

All of China’s impressive progress and accomplishments to address pollution issues prior to the Olympics have been paralleled with continued environmental challenges across the country: pollution continues to impact the environment and human health in major cities and rural provinces. While the Beijing 2008 Olympics have elevated the status of environmental protection in China, I hope that the improvements we have seen in Beijing will be replicated across the country and continue long after the Olympic Games’ closing ceremonies. 

As one of the countries that hold the key to saving the world from environmental destruction, China can help lead efforts to protect the environment. Now, after the closing ceremonies have ended and the international attention has gone away, the real Olympic challenge begins. China made enormous progress dealing with its environmental issues during the Olympics. Can China maintain and advance these environmental gains after the Olympics, benefiting people throughout China? Can China adapt its successes in Beijing to address the environmental challenges throughout China’s vast provinces? 

China has a new challenge after the Olympics—one that is arguably even more important than this celebration of humanity and international cooperation that occurs once every four years. Now that the Olympic flame has been extinguished at the Bird’s Nest stadium, China’s leaders and people need to work together to protect the environment. Even more than the Olympics, this new cause that can unite China, its leaders, and its people will define China’s legacy in the future.

 

Wen Bo is the Beijing-based China programme co-director of Pacific Environment, a San Francisco environmental group working to protect the environment around the Pacific Rim. He is also an Asia Society fellow 

Homepage photo by kafka4prez

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评论 comments

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

改善环境任重道远

奥运会我们花费了大量的财力和人力改善环境,但为了扩大未来改善环境的深度和广度,我们需要更多的努力。很重要的是,提高公众的关注监督意识。

Improving the environment is a big responsibility

We spent a lot of financial resources and human resources to improve the environment.
However in order to expand and deepen the environmental improvements we need to be even more hardworking. It is very important to raise public concern in order to increase awareness.
(Comment translated by Michelle Deeter)

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

政府的决心和百姓的支持要相结合

改善环境需要政府的决心和百姓的支持相结合。当政府对环境的整治取得了能被百姓感知到的明显成果时,比如蓝天多了,绿化好了,人们自然愿意配合,即使要付出一些代价,承担一些不便,比如汽车分单双号上路,自带塑料袋。所以政府在采取措施时不能优柔寡断,轻易对抱怨的人群妥协。
zyn

The determination of the government has to be combined with civil support

The improvement of the environment needs the combination of governmental determination and civil support. The people will cooperate as soon as the result of governmental effort on environmental protection shows, such as the blue sky and green vegetation. After that happens people will naturally be willing to cooperate, even if they have to make some small sacrifices, and deal with some inconveniences, such as driving their car everyday and bring their own plastic bags. Therefore, the government shouldn't compromise to the complaining people. This comment is translated by Lijin Zeng.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

奥运是一个良好的契机

奥运让北京市民感受到了一个拥有蓝天、清洁的空气、高能见度的首都是个什么样子,市民们恐怕不愿意再回到从前了吧?那么,政府就应该以此为契机,继续推行环保措施,提高市民们的环保意识,并积极而严格地付诸于行动,那么我们就能永久享受到“奥运天气”了,甚至会更好。

Olympics is a good opportunity

Olympics made the Beijing citizens experience the capital city with blue sky,clean air and high visibility, and they would not be willing to return to the previous conditions, would they? Therefore, the government should take this opportunity to continue implementing the environmental protection measures, to enhance people's awareness of environmental issues. If all these efforts can be made, then we could enjoy the "Olympic weather", and even a better one forever.

Translated by Feifei XUE

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

挑战就在面前

尽管北京奥运会取得了很大成功,但中国也正面临巨大挑战。中国人民必须团结起来,保护环境,共建美丽绿色家园,这样我们的国家才能全面发展。这样,中国就会在世界上享有盛誉。
(本评论由Zheng Shen翻译)

Big chanllenge is starting now

Although Beijing Olympic games got great success, China will have great a challenge. Chinese people must get together to protect the environment and build a beautiful and green china to promote all kinds of development of our country. Doing so, China will have a good reputation in the world.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

三根手指——“绿色奥运”的标志

我觉得用伸出三根手指,来代表对气候变化的关注,并以此来支持全球为减缓气候变化而做出的努力,是一种非常简单却鼓舞人心的方式。它表明,在保护全球环境的意义上,没有竞争,只有合作。我见到过世界各地的许多人在拍照的时候,习惯伸出两个手指。现在,他们把无名指也加了进来。这样即是我们说的,三根手指的很酷的表示方式。这第三根手指,代表了我们用以减缓气候变化和全球变暖的最有力的工具——这个工具就在你我的两耳之间(即我们做出决策的大脑)——我们每个人都拥有它!我了解中国人对中国经济的显著成就非常自豪,这份自豪也包括对他们的实用主义的经商理念。现在是时候号召中国做出承诺并将他们这些丰富的经验付诸实践了!

Philip McMaster Beijing, China http://2008.qq.com/zt/2008/17/index10.htm http://2008.qq.com/zt/2008/819wgr/index.htm
(到www.SustainabilitySymbol.com网站上,可以看到更多关于这一标志的照片!)

该评论由Si Meng翻译

The 3 finger "GREEN OLYMPICS" Symbol

I think the 3 finger symbol is a very simple, but very effective way to support the many diverse efforts to slow climate change around the planet. It competes with no one, and cooperates with everyone.

I've seen thousands of people use the old 2 finger symbol in photos around the world - now they add one finger, and instantly become part of the solution! Cool!

The 3 finger symbol is only an extension of the most powerful tool we have to slow climate change and global warming - the tool in-between our ears (our decision-making brain)- and everyone has one! I know Chinese pride themselves on high academic achievement - and a pragmatic business sense. Now is the time to make a statement and apply that knowledge!

Philip McMaster
Beijing, China

http://2008.qq.com/zt/2008/17/index10.htm
http://2008.qq.com/zt/2008/819wgr/index.htm

(see www.SustainabilitySymbol.com for more photos!)

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

中国引领全球环保行动——“三根手指”的环保标志

中国应当发挥自豪感、热情,以及普惠大众的社会公心,使用奥运会的盈利,去实践一些明智的措施,以此来引领全球的环保行动,拯救面临环境危机的世界。

在令人叹为观止的绿色奥运宣言之后,在展示了对地震灾害有力的处理能力和在世界舞台上强大的经济能力之后,中国已经不该再有任何关于“仍然是发展中国家”之类的借口。

为了显示他们积极乐观的态度和能力,千万的中国人已经开始伸出三根手指——即“和平+1”的可持续发展标志,来表达个人对可持续发展的社会、环境和经济三方面需求之间的平衡抱持的期望和祝愿。

Philip McMaster Beijing, China http://2008.qq.com/zt/2008/17/index10.htm http://2008.qq.com/zt/2008/819wgr/index.htm
(更多照片,请访问网站www.SustainabilitySymbol.com )

该评论由Si Meng翻译

China saves the world 3 fingers at a time..

CHINA WILL SAVE THE WORLD with its pragmatic social conscience, pride and enthusiasm and do what's right with their "Olympic Dividend".

There are no "developing country" excuses left after the spectacular success of the GREEN Olympic Presentation, excellent handling of the earthquake disaster, and powerful stewardship of the ecomomy on the world stage.

Expressing this "can-do" optimistic attitude, thousands of Chinese have started to share the 3 finger "Peace Plus One" Sustainability Symbol, simply stating a personal willingness to balance the needs of a sustainable SOCIETY, ENVIRONMENT and ECONOMY.

Philip McMaster
Beijing, China

http://2008.qq.com/zt/2008/17/index10.htm
http://2008.qq.com/zt/2008/819wgr/index.htm

(see www.SustainabilitySymbol.com for more photos!)