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Chinese volunteers launch environmental awareness campaign

To show their support for environmental protection, people were given the opportunity to pose for a photo next to two of the Olympic mascots (“fuwa”), whilst holding one of five boards bearing commitments to environmental volunteering.To show their support for environmental protection, people were given the opportunity to pose for a photo next to two of the Olympic mascots (“fuwa”), whilst holding one of five boards bearing commitments to environmental volunteering.
21 November 2007

Beijing, China: Volunteers in China organized by UNV and partners have launched “Smiling Beijing, Green Olympics” to promote volunteer action to save energy consumption and reduce pollution.

The event was organized in Beijing’s popular Jingshan Park, in partnership with UNDP and the Beijing Committee to the China Communist Youth League, BOCOG Volunteer Work Coordination Group Office and Beijing Volunteers Association. It was the first in a series of events to raise the profile of the Beijing “Green Olympics” through volunteering.

In front of a large billboard and information stand, 40 volunteers handed out 1,000 brochures to the general public, introducing the concept of environmental protection and providing energy-saving tips. Visitors were also shown how to use a “carbon calculator” game that helps them to understand that planting trees, for example, can absorb the carbon dioxide that is produced as a result of their activities. Attendees were able to see how many trees would be needed to be planted in order to offset, for example, 1,000 kilometres of car travel.

To show their support for environmental protection, people were given the opportunity to pose for a photo next to two of the Olympic mascots (fuwa), whilst holding one of five boards bearing commitments to environmental volunteering. The commitments include using energy-efficient light bulbs, taking public transport and moving towards using a paperless office.

The volunteers were drawn from the Beijing University of International Relations and engaged the passers-by in conversations about environmental protection and energy saving. One lady in her 70s said that old people in China are very good at saving energy and water, but that her children and grandchildren chastise her for doing so. She was pleased to be able to take the brochure home and share the information with her family, hoping that with the link the Green Olympics, they too would start living more environmentally-friendly lives.

Another volunteer mentioned that their university had begun advocacy work on saving energy and reducing pollution, and that the brochures produced from this event would be a great help to them in their own campaign. Some children also promised that they would tell their parents about the green environment protection. Through this activity, a lot of citizens learned that they can protect the environment and contribute to a Green Olympic Games through changes in their daily life.

The event was also supported by a volunteer team from the “Songs and Smiles” chorus of harmonica players and singers. They performed in front of the billboard to add to the attention received from passers-by.

UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)