The woman of my oral presentation is Wang Yong Chen.
She is born in Anhui province, China, in 1954 and graduated from Peking University. While working as a journalist, she founded two radio programs: “Classroom on Wednesday” and “Journalists’ Salon” with the goal to raise awaireness on environnmental issues that are caused by humans. She is one of the winners of the Prize for Environmental News in 1994 and Earth Award in 2001, which is one of the most praised awards in China for environmentalists. One of Wang’s many involements to protect the ecosystem is her dedication to conserve the Nu River. Located in south of China, the Nu River is one of the two major rivers that does not have any dam (source from 2018). Many propositions of dam construction has been proposed since then, with the purporse to gain electricity and to free the population of the area from poverty. The proposition souds tempting, but the Nu River is the home of half of the country’s animal species, 7000 plants species and wihout taking acount of 22 ethnicity groups living around the river. If a dam was to be constructed, the ecosystem and the people living near the Nu River would be greatly affected. She states that women will be the most affected by the construction of the dam: “They [women] lose the land, their cultural tradition and their livelihood, particularly those who are part of ethnic minorities. Their lives are urbanized, and they shoulder more of the burdens after the men have gone to work in cities.” In 2003, Wang distributed pamplets and organized a petition in response to a plan to construct multiple hydrostations on Nu. Her work was fruitful: the project was postponed until further scientific research was made on the impact of those hydrostations have on the environment. She sees her involement more as environmental rather than political, since she thinks that we can influence politics by keeping the river clean. I think that she is not wrong; if enough people involved themselves into protecting the envirnment and taking actions agaist pollution, then politicians would and must also react and take actions against activities that harm the planet.
Off the Cuff: Wang Yongchen, Chinese environmental activist and reporter