Chinese Version Preface by Zhou Jinfeng: The Cry of the Awakening – From “The Limits to Growth” to “Come On!”, Trying to Wake Up More People (II)
2020/9/22 18:58:00 本站

Similar to pangolins is the yellow-breasted bunting, commonly known as the rice bird, a species that once existed as ubiquitously as sparrows. In just 13 years, it rose from Least Concern to Critically Endangered. This is what we found in the animal kingdom. Animal friends living on the earth with human beings are disappearing at an accelerating rate, and the stability of the entire ecosystem is facing great challenges. We hope to slow down the rate of species disappearance through various efforts to maintain the balance and stability of the ecological chain. In July 2018, we celebrated that the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) species data record exceeded the one billion mark, that is, at the press conference of the results of the most Chinese representative endangered species information entry on GBIF, we announced that we have successfully submitted field data of endangered species such as Chinese pangolin, Baiji dolphin, and great bustard to the GBIF platform. In particular, the field data information of Baiji dolphin, which was re-photographed in April 2018 and was previously declared functionally extinct for nearly 13 years, has been shared. This allows us to see more hope in the persistence of biodiversity conservation. Through a series of work such as inventory of pangolin and data sharing, we can better understand the current situation of wildlife, and we can also work better.


Of course, the human threat to the earth's ecology does not only exist in the animal kingdom. With the increasing rise of the express delivery industry and the takeaway catering industry, more and more plastic packaging, disposable plastic tableware and other garbage are flooding around us. According to statistics, 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide every year. At least 8 million tons of plastic enter the ocean every year, which is equivalent to dumping a whole truck of garbage into the ocean every minute. We have produced more plastics in the past 10 years than in the entire 20th century. About 1 million plastic bottles are sold every minute in the world. Of all the waste we generate, plastic accounts for 10%.


This set of data is huge and frightening. The characteristics of plastics that are difficult to degrade make the dilemma of plastic waste even more difficult to solve. The fish swallowed plastic bags, making them unable to digest them. Turtles entangled in plastic nets may not be able to swim to the surface to breathe. Plastic particles have flooded our food through the ecosystem, and even in edible salt. Some people rank plastic as the worst invention. In my opinion, instead of blaming invention, it is better to change our way of life and consumption. This is also the original intention of my organization to launch the "Plastic Reduction and Picking" and the "Green Bottle Action". By reducing the use of plastic products, we can rationally recycle and sort plastic products, and make disposable beverage bottles recycled... More importantly, let everyone participate personally and bring changes to our planet through what they can. Public participation is an amazing thing, and it is also a very important way for us to awaken more people.


The Chinese translation of the book Come On! by the Club of Rome, I first saw it, was in the late spring of 2018, when it was ready for publication, it was midsummer. I believe that the summer of 2018 will impress many people. Because in this year, rare high temperatures have appeared in many parts of the world, and the highest temperature in the Arctic Circle even exceeded 32 Degrees Celsius, and the entire planet seems to be "fever." Just this summer, a research report published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology showed that under the baseline scenario of greenhouse gas emissions, the earth's temperature in North China will reach the "threshold value" of 35 Degrees Celsius several times from 2070 to 2100. This will cause North China to become uninhabitable due to extreme heat waves, and agricultural irrigation will further increase the humidity of the air, which will further aggravate the fatal heat wave in the North China Plain. When I was interviewed by the media, I told reporters that in addition to high temperatures, in recent years, satellite and ground observations have also found that lakes and swamps in North China are disappearing quickly, and the rate of species change is also accelerating. Just like after species are extinct, the current technology cannot bring them back to life, so is our ecological environment. For example, the drought in Inner Mongolia in the early summer of 2018 is related to the natural conditions in Inner Mongolia on the one hand, but the continuous overexploitation of groundwater and insufficient underground humidity resulted in limited rainfall that could not alleviate excessive drought, which may further promote land desertification and desertification.


In many cases, what we think of as accidental happens, in fact, often cause irreversible phenomena. This is the reason why I have been running around advocating the concept of "Good Food" recently. Our organization has established a Good Food Fund to advocate a reasonable, scientific and environmentally friendly diet, increase vegetarian food, reduce meat, eat more local food, avoid food waste, and reduce the environmental and ecological costs of all aspects of food. Now we have linked up with the dining-rooms of many universities at home and abroad, starting from the university campus to promote and guide the reform of good food.


We are already heavily in debt in claiming the earth. Ever since I was awakened, I often dare not think deeply about the environment in which future generations live. Every time I think about it, I am awakened. This is also the pain of being an awakened person. However, I need to be grateful for this pain. It spurs me to go on with more responsibility and determination, just like my friend Maurice Strong and others.


Fortunately for me, we may still have time to make changes to avoid repeating the tragedy of Easter Island. The book "The Limits to Growth" by the Club of Rome half a century ago awakened early awakeners like me, and now, "Come On!" comes, we will welcome more awakened people and cry together, strive for change.


What makes me particularly gratified is that in the process of advancing the ecological “Belt and Road” and in the process of "going out" of our organization and other social organizations, I feel more and more deeply that more and more governments and people's attention to ecological and environmental issues, the construction of ecological civilization is being increasingly accepted and practiced. I think this is the power of awakening.


Whether awakened or spontaneously awakened, it will give us the spiritual power to face challenges and meet the future. People who wake up will have clear and firm goals and the courage to pay for the goals. Just like the Renaissance, this will form a "green wave" of the times, surpassing the past and leading the sustainable development of the earth in the future!


Those who wake up early may feel more pressure, trials and even pains facing the future environment, but they will not have the regret and powerlessness before the final demise. Wake up and light up a lamp to the future for more people. Such a life course is worthwhile. I am also glad that I was awakened as soon as possible. This is the power of books, the power of wisdom, and it will be further condensed into the power of all mankind.


Come on! You will be the next awakened person, if you will.


Dr. Zhou Jinfeng


Secretary-General of China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation


Member of the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh CPPCC National Committee


Member of the Executive Committee of the Club of Rome


Vice Chairman of the Ninth and Tenth National Association of Vocational Education of China

(Photo credit: CBCGDF)

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By / Maggie