Worldwide Locations

Worldwide Locations

Zhou Xiang: Green Activism in China, 'The Grassroots Way'

Green Anhui director Zhou Xiang. (Asia Society Northern California)

Green Anhui director Zhou Xiang. (Asia Society Northern California)

A lot of villagers do not have Internet access. So what kind of role does social media – such as microblogs, cell phone texting, short message services, et cetera – play in your activities?

We don't use these methods much. A lot of people have not graduated from high school, or even middle school. They might not be using texting yet. We still use traditional methods such as newspapers and posters and such. That way the local people will understand.

If it is in the city, people use texting and microblogging. For instance, in a big city like Dalian, a lot of people were aware of the PX incident because of social media. Similarly, after the [July 2011] Wenzhou high-speed train crash, a lot of people used microblogs to get information.

Are city people interested in what is happening in the countryside?

Yes, they are interested. You can see from our magazine that we also have a lot of city activities. Take a look — open up to page 62. This driver is wearing a Green Transport shirt. We encourage everyone to travel by public bus, not by car. And this is us at the World Expo, where we had some activities at the China kiosk. And this is a bunch of college students doing some activities they planned. This picture shows corporation training. We are training companies how to be environmentally aware.

Can you explain more about the activities you do in the cities?

We encourage everyone to use public transportation – do you know about "No-Car Day" [9/22]? We work hard to promote that event. Hefei city government deployed a new electric bus this year, and through our magazine we encouraged everyone to ride it. We also gave bus drivers shirts with green logos. Also, on our website, we have a Carbon Calculator. For instance, if you drive a car, you may generate 100 tons of carbon dioxide in one year. By bus, you might not even make 20 tons of carbon dioxide. We train corporations to calculate their carbon production and teach them how to cut back.