(Photo taken in Xi’an). 红被绿取代了。China is GREEN! Really though, four months in this country and I’m convinced the U.S. better pick up its earth-friendly habits. Here’s a brief list of some of China’s green-ifying techniques:
1. Want a bag? Pay up.
Go to any grocery/convenience store and regardless of how much you buy, the cashier won’t automatically give you plastic bags unless you specifically ask for some and hand over a few coins.
2. No heat in Beijing until November 15th.
Yup, currently suffering under the capital’s centrally-controlled heating policy. Whether or not you enter a cozy classroom on a brisk October morning is up to the government and unless temperatures prematurely drop significantly (as they did last year on Nov 1st), November 15th is the magical date when an official presses the button that sends heat to the homes, schools, and offices of all 22 million Beijingers. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503543_162-20020269-503543.html
3. Hot summer sun? Cool off in 78 degree AC.
This policy isn’t heavily regulated, but the government encourages citizens to keep their AC units set no lower than 26 degrees Celsius, or 78 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer. Also, (according to my parents’ tour guide in Shanghai), if the temperature rises above 35 degrees Celsius in Shanghai, the government will take drastic measures to save energy– including temporarily shutting off lights in the entire city. http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/shanghai/node17256/node17261/node17290/node17303/userobject26ai4181.html
4. Carrying bottled water? Foreign give-away.
You can’t drink water from the tap in China, so the average foreign visitor takes the simple route and buys chilled bottled water daily. But most Chinese believe cold liquids aren’t great for your health and many (especially girls) cannot stomach them. For this reason (and to save money) the vast majority of Chinese boil water and carry large canteens to class or bring a re-usable glass bottle filled with tea to work every day.
… the list goes on. In addition to these little steps, China has recently prioritized renewable energy development and is consistently cited for its progress in focusing on alternative energy, most notably electric cars. Check out this op-ed: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/26/opinion/26friedman.html?src=me&ref=general