California “Green Index” Report released – Only Energy Can be Green?

I know I’ve been negligent in my China-Canada relationship posts – or any posts at all, but I received a copy of the California Green Innovation Index report from a colleague today, and after looking at it, I thought – geez, they only talk about energy and climate change in here.  Has the Colorado River started flowing regularly to the sea again?

This is a quote from the e-mail I wrote to him:

While I agree that energy and climate change are huge problems facing us today and in the long-term future, I find it narrow-minded that this “Green Index” only considers energy and climate change. Water use/groundwater contamination, toxic substances, urban sprawl/land conversion, desertification and habitat destruction/segmentation are still huge environmental issues that cannot be separated from the word “green.” Or has the Colorado River started consistently running to the sea again?

As the need to begin adapting to climate change (rather than trying to mitigate it) becomes more important, “green” is going to have to mean resource efficiency on a much broader scale than just energy. Who are the leading thinkers in California on “Green” Indicators, and why isn’t there more information about other environmental impacts of modern society?

Indeed, this drought and increasingly irregular rainfall in China has drawn attention to water as a central environmental issue in China. Are people thinking about these issues in California?

It is essential that researchers not just focus on energy and climate change, but also other indicators of sustainability when considering what “Green” means.  Addressing environmental issues from every side and in every dimension can only help to reduce total risk – in fact addressing water efficiency may well help us think much more clearly about climate change because water is something much closer to our personal lives.  Who knows?

Time to update the blog

This blog has been blocked in China, to my great frustration, for quite a long time, so I have decided to remove the Chinese language posts.  I hope this will remedy the situation and get my blog online here.

This frustration has prevented me from posting easily, and I think posting is much more important than a few Chinese language posts!

Over the coming weeks, I also hope to update the appearance and usability of the blog to give it some more character.  It is, after all, a unique idea.  I want to make it really unique!

Canada-China Energy and Environment Forum – begins tomorrow

Tomorrow will mark the beginning of the China-Canada Energy and Environment Forum, which will be held at the Kerry Center in Beijing.

The Agenda, organized primarily, I gather, by the University of Alberta China Institute, covers the afternoon of Nov. 3 and the morning of Nov. 4, with panel topics including:

  1. Overview of bilateral relations, energy and environment
  2. Energy sector development in the past year
  3. Energy efficiency, other energy sources and environment
  4. Investment, trade and regulations for better energy and environmental cooperation
  5. Local advantages for bilateral cooperation

Some of the people I’m particularly looking forward to hearing from include Han Wenke, D-G of the ERI and  Che Changbo, Dep. D-G of OIl and Gas Strategy Research Centre, Ministry of Land Resources, oh and Gao Zhikai, Director Nat’l Associaion of Int’l Studies / past VP CNOOC.

It will be interesting to see how this forum turns out, given the huge turnout at the China-Denmark Climate Change Forum 2 weeks ago that had a turnout of nearly 1000, including CEOs of Denmark’s biggest companies.

I look forward to finding out exactly who pays attention to this bilateral relationship in China, and hearing what they say about it.


Some publicity

Well, there I am now in black and white (and green!) in the hallowed pages of Beijing City Weekend (and the digital equivalent!).

And it’s not every day that somebody is quoted as one of Beijing’s brightest expats (scroll to the part on NGOs)!  Well, it’s all in a day’s work, isn’t it.

And…thanks to Beijing Green Drinks!

(This post was edited from its original because it was receiving a lot of spam!)

Canada’s election – no real debate needed

Canada is diving into an election, our celebration of western democracy.  The problem is that democracy itself is under fierce attack, from established parties who want to keep dusting off their old ideas (and stay in power that way), and the media industry who is very interested in keeping any sorts of unfamiliar parties away from the table (for fear of what they might say – cutting into profits).

That’s right, the Green Party, with 1 MP in Parliament, is being denied a voice in Canada’s televised debate.  And why, exactly?  Well, if you listen to the TV ‘consortium,’  it’s because some other parties refused to participate if the Green Party was allowed on stage.  i.e. the CONservatives, the LIEberal$ and the New DemoCRAZIES (I’m just trying to be fair).  And I’d imagine the media wasn’t too resistant to the idea…after all, media just had to say “I don’t care…do you want free TV time or not?” and the debate would have gone on.

It is getting harder and harder to think that Canadian democracy is better than the system that they have here in China.   In China, everybody knows that you don’t have a say, so you just go about your daily business and hope that somebody (one of those 1.3 billion other people) has a good idea (and they likely do).  Whereas in Canada, we tell everybody that they have a chance to make a difference, but then we make it as difficult as possible for them to heard, especially if they have a chance of changing the status quo.

It’s slightly embarassing going on about the wonders of western democracy, and the freedom of speech we have in Canada when in fact, it’s just a farce. If you don’t say what the establishment finds acceptable, then you won’t be heard anyway.

Good luck to the Green Party.  I think they’re not the right party to lead us into the very uncertain times that our country is about to enter, but then again…none of the other parties are, either.

So, good luck to Canada too.  My ballot is in the mail.