Beijing Rocks Earth Day: Big Messages, Big Country, One Little Day
Earth Day is cause for debate in some locales, but this treehugger posits that in the developing world it's still cause for celebration. In a country like China, where government tends to determine the way forward and an expanding middle class is just beginning to be exposed to green consumer choice - and to lots of not-so-green choices, including cars - environmental education is key. Sure, shocking numbers of people in the Western world don't "believe in" global warming. But at least most have been exposed to the theory. In China, soon to beat the US at the greenhouse gas emissions game, awareness about climate change is just getting off the ground. No Car Days help. So does Earth Day.This weekend, Beijing was hopping and bopping with positive Earth Day energy. Leading up to the day itself, on Saturday Friends of Nature and the Jane Goodall Institute, which is responsible for the environmental education program Roots & Shoots, put on their Second Annual Earth Day Rock Fest. Besides showcasing local bands in action - and performing songs with environmental content - the Rock Fest also featured local environmental NGOs providing information on their projects. Sunday was dominated by climate change-themed events. Conservation International put on a carbon emissions education transit-a-thon to raise awareness about climate change and how individual everyday choices can make an impact. Not only was their travelution televised, but the simple, nifty carbon calculator they've developed is also cute, cartoony and sure to have mass appeal. Even if you don't read Chinese, you might want to give it a try. (Just click around and wait for the animations...) Students at Peking University and fourteen other universities across China, sponsored by Disney and spurred on by TakingITGlobal, held awareness raising events encouraging youth action in coping with climate change. And Global Village Beijing kicked off their awesome bye-bye throw away culture week, which we first covered here. Cutting down on consumption and climate change won't happen overnight, but these are big, important messages, and this treehugger thinks they deserve at least one little day.