Retired Teacher Spreads Green Gospel in China
Retired special education teacher Winny Lin of Owensboro, Kentucky, isn't a Sierra Club member—yet, But she's become of the Club's best ambassadors in western Kentucky. Lin and Club organizer Aloma Dew met years ago, but their collaboration blossomed at this year's Earth Day event in Owensboro, a subsequent "Go Green" day Lin organized at Tamarack Elementary School for which Dew provided t-shirts, and a Multicultural Festival Lin has organized in for the last ten years at which the Club tabled this summer.
"Winny is a force to be reckoned with," Dew says. "She's such an activist, with so many connections, and she's been tireless in hooking the Sierra Club up with schools all throughout the Owensboro area."
This summer Lin took her green activism to her native China, where she teaches English and helps make connections between the U.S. and China. In June she and her husband Kenny, above, led a delegation of teachers and administrators from the Daviess County (Kentucky) Public Schools to visit schools in the city of Wuxi, where they presented "Be Cool, Go Green" t-shirts donated by the Club's Pennyrile Group to teachers at Yuhong Elementary School, the largest in Wuxi.
"After our official business is done, I talk to students about environmental issues," Lin says. "Aloma taught me so much this spring, and I promote environmental awareness by talking about what we're doing in Owensboro."
This fall Lin has been invited as guest of honor to the Wuxi Ecological Tourism Festival, where she will promote agricultural products and green ideas from western Kentucky. "Wuxi has the third-biggest freshwater lake in China and the environment is a big tourism draw," she says. "When you tell people "Go Green" is hot, they eat it up!"
As evidence, Lin points to China's recent ban on plastic bags in stores. The sign below reads: "Since June 1, 2008, People's Republic of China has banned plastic bags in stores, and the customers are to bring their own canvas bags for shopping."