Saturday, May 8, 2010

“Hopenmar” – An environmentally friendly visit from twelve guys and a girl

I returned to the unspoken city 2 weeks ago. A few short hours after I arrived I was invited to the closing ceremony and celebratory dinner of a motivated group of young local and Chinese activists. The topic of their shared interest: the environment and global warming. All I have to say is that, “Hopenhagan, you should be ashamed.”

As soon as I arrive I discover two giddy groups of participants, one group local, one group Chinese. They were truly enjoying each other and excited about their shared vision – green living and sustainable green development. I observe playful yet serious dialogue, and it was clear they all have deep respect and admiration towards each others plight. While the Chinese activists struggle with an all powerful controlling administration that the world fears and obsesses about, they and their hosts quickly realized their struggle pales in comparison to the plight of the local activists in attendance. One Chinese activist takes care to express just that in his farewell speech. According to him, while it is frustrating to be living is such a controlled country; at least the rules and regulations are clear and transparent. In this place, it’s an altogether different game and a much more confusing existence. Nothing is clear and the word transparency is only spoken in whispers.

For those of you who haven’t heard me say it a hundred times already, it is important to note it has been very hot here; and, when I say hot I mean it has been 100 degrees plus every stinkin day. One Chinese participant also made note of the heat during his speech but he added one important fact to his observation: “The weather here is very warm, but the people are warm too.” If you asked me, I would say the people of this place may be the warmest people on the face of the planet but, that’s just me and although I have visited many places, I haven’t quite visited them all.

By the end of the event I realize that I (an American who has been indoctrinated with fears of pending Chinese takeover of the planet and some underlying stereotypical beliefs that environmental concerns take a back seat to currency control and exports and falls just ahead of human rights concerns in China) have fallen victim to a tremendous amount of misinformation. The reality is China is as diverse as a New York City subway and if this passionate young group of students represents even a small part of their rather large Republic. We my friends, are greatly mistaken.

The accomplishments and concluding thoughts of this youth initiative focused on global warming thought up by and accomplished by two groups of what many in the west would all assume to be disempowered and uninformed group of civilians, blew the events in Copenhagen a few short months ago out of the water; and, if Obama were smart, he would come here and meet with this group and learn a few lessons on international engagement and strategic green development.

I will end this train of thought with another quote, this time it was from one of the local participants to the China team which happened to be made up of a dozen men and one lone woman: “As we are living under the same Sun and walking on the same Land, we are together in our heart to act for our environment. We love you, brothers and sister.”

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