Club Activists Among Kentucky Friendship Delegation to China
A five-woman delegation of community representatives from Owensboro, Kentucky, traveled to China in early November as guests of honor at the Wuxi Ecological Tourism Festival in the city of Wuxi. That's Sierra Club organizer Aloma Dew at left, volunteer activist Winny Lin, who organized the trip, at center, and fellow activist Carol Mark in front. Rounding out the group are Anne Padgett and Susan Vance.
Over ten days, the group met with environmental and government officials, citizen activists, and students in Wuxi, Shanghai, and Beijing. "Wuxi prides itself on being a clean, green city," Dew says. "Thre are recycling bins every other block, and they're planting trees everywhere."
Wuxi contains the third-largest freshwater lake in China—a major tourist draw—and a bad algae bloom several years ago caused by sewage and factory farm runoff hurt tourism badly. "They made the connection and moved most of the factory farms away from the area," says Dew, who focuses on clean water and factory farm issues for the Club. "We haven't fully made that connection back home, as Chesapeake Bay will attest."
Among the environmental leaders meeting with the Kentucky delegation in Beijing were Wen Bo, above left, codirector of Pacific Environment's China program, and Kaori Ohsawa, above right, of Mekong Watch. Bo, who is featured in the Nov/Dec issue of Sierra magazine, started the China Green Student Forum, the country's first network of student environmental organizations. He recently published an activist handbook to help Chinese citizens take action as Americans would under our Clean Water Act.
Above right, Wang Yongchen, a senior reporter with China National Radio who started a group called Green Earth Volunteers, receives a Sierra Club calendar from Dew. "She and Wen Bo are internationally recognized environmentalists, and very familiar with the Sierra Club," Dew says. "But many others we met knew of the Club as well, and while visiting schools or meeting with officials, we explained what the Club does, and that we're interested in working in China. I feel we've started a dialog we can build on."