Attention, bicycle-loving Beijingers: do you share WildChina’s passion for environmental sustainability and green travel? Do you own a bike, or know a friend who does? Are you in the city this weekend? If you answered yes to any of these questions, get involved in the 350 Beijing Green Train this Saturday, October 24.
You may find yourself wondering: what is the 350 Beijing Green Train, who is behind it, and why is it an important event for environmental efforts in Beijing and beyond? To get a better sense of the people and vision behind this event, Alex G. spoke with Clay Baylor, Project Coordinator at Future Generations China, which is one of the collaborating organizations behind the 350 Beijing Green Train.
WildChina (WC): What is the 350 Beijing Green Train? Who is behind this event?
Clay Baylor (CB): 350 is an international campaign dedicated to building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis. On Saturday, October 24, they are asking people across the globe to organize an action and snap a photo in an effort to show world leaders our support for a serious international climate treaty to come out of Copenhagen.
In order for Beijing to be a part of this global day of action, Future Generations China, Greening the Beige, the China Youth Climate Action Network, Conservation International, the EU-Biodiversity Programme, and the China Green Student Forum have joined forces to launch the 350 Beijing Green Train. We’ve the ambitious goal of gathering 350 cyclists for a symbolic ride that will encourage the use of low and zero-CO2 forms of transportation instead of private vehicles.
Additionally, the 350 Beijing Green Train will be joining forces with the Roots & Shoots China Summit 2009’s Climate Action Carnival, for which more than one hundred young environmental group leaders from all over the country will be coming together to meet, learn from each other and be congratulated on their hard work. We’ve asked some participating Roots & Shoots groups to prepare interactive exhibits or games at their carnival so that there will be almost twenty booths hosted by student groups.
WC: Has Future Generations China put on an event like this before?
CB: This will be the first time that Future Generations China has been involved in coordinating a Green Train event. That said, we organize many public campaigns for the environment through our Green Long March network of more than fifty universities across China.
WC: What do Future Generations China and your partner organizations hope to achieve from this event?
CB: The primary goal of this event is to raise awareness about climate change and encourage people to reduce their carbon footprints. We want to call attention to the power individuals have to reduce their carbon footprints through personal choices that are made daily.
We hope that people will leave with an understanding of the urgency for which a serious international climate treaty is needed and what’s being done in China to mitigate the causes of climate change.
WC: Why do you think that people should get involved?
CB: The Green Train and Climate Action Carnival events allow Beijing residents from many green pockets of the city an opportunity to come together and raise awareness about climate change. But Beijing is just one of thousands of cities across the globe that will be organizing events on this day of action: the Green Train and Climate Action Carnival are an opportunity for people to be a part of an international visual petition.
WC: This sounds like a creative and innovative way to spread the word about environmental action. Can you please provide WildChina blog readers with more information about the event?
CB: Surely. We are departing this coming Saturday, October 24 at 12:30 pm from Beijing’s Drum Tower. Our ultimate destination is the Museum of Natural History, where Roots & Shoots is holding the Climate Action Carnival. There will be various performances including breakdancing, live music, MC battles, green installations and community art like reverse graffiti, as well as student environmental groups from across China talking about their work.
WC: What if participants are excited about the ride but can’t cycle for the entire duration of the event? Can riders join in at different points during the ride? What about participants who do not own bikes?
CB: Absolutely: We have a few stopovers on our biking schedule where bikers can join us. A station captain will be there to register riders. Bicycles will not be provided, but there will be some available to rent in the Drum Tower area.
WC: Is there a fee for participating in the Beijing Green Train?
CB: Yes. We ask that cyclists donate 50 RMB to cover organizational costs of the event.
WC: Do you have anything else to add about the event?
CB: Please bring your own mug or cup, as disposable paper and plastic products will not be available at the carnival after the bike ride.
So, Beijing bikers, grab your bike and go for the globe this weekend!