Wen Bo: Environmentalism Growing in China

One of China’s most influential environmentalists, and the founder of Greenpeace’s office in Beijing, sits down for an optimistic interview with CNN:

CNN: You were heralded in the press a few years ago for being part of a new generation of activists in China. Do you see yet another generation appearing?

Wen: Yes, I’ve become an old generation (activist). And there are lots of younger people more engaged in environmental issues. They have started to graduate and some of them have already recently graduated and they have started (taking jobs with) environmental organizations.

We do see the emergence of a new generation of young people that I equip with skills such as the Internet, building Web sites and also language skills. These are people who are open-minded and also do not live in the shadow of the student demonstrations of Tiananmen Square in 1989. So, they start to open their eyes to environmental fields. We do say they have become an important force in shaping the environmental movement in China.

CNN: How important are young people in the grassroots movement in China?

Wen: Young people are idealistic and they are energetic. They are new blood to the existing environmental movement because, in the past, most of the effort has been taken by (retired) people or people who are middle aged. So, they are different than the people who take environmental work as a hobby. They really start to take it as a cause and as a ‘real job.’

June 29, 2008, 7:32 PM
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Categories: Environment, Society