Herederos del Planeta
Herederos del Planeta (Inheritors of the Planet) is a Colombian youth programme designed by the Red de Reservas Naturales de la Sociedad Civil, an environmental network linking 85 reserves throughout the country. Herederos addressed the issue of inter-generational justice and aims to: motivate and train young people; create environmentally conscious and dedicated global citizens; and prepare future generations for the struggle to preserve the environment and the continuity of species. It has about 100 activists and more than 500 highly motivated followers. The most enthusiastic candidates are selected in each region and offered basic environmental training on the functioning of ecosystems. Exchanges are organized among the various nuclei around the country during school holidays, to provide motivation and to exchange experiences. Each nucleus organizes its own fund raising ventures to meet the costs of its activities. The Network today has a seed fund for small projects. Each member also publicizes the programme and its activities, excursions and courses among his/her schoolmates. The Sibundoy Valley Group collected funds to purchase a marsh area and turned it into a nature reserve so as to conserve a water source feeding into the local aqueduct. Each year, creative competitions are sponsored by Herederos in each region to solve a given environmental problem. Members of the organization are also invited to training events held by the Reserves Network.
A High School Student Group of Junior Journalists for Environment
Ten years ago teachers at the high school in Xuzhou Coalmine, a village in China's northern Jiangsu Province, got together with students to start a group of junior environmental journalists. It was an effort to raise the students' sense of responsibility about the world around them. Over the years, increased projects have focused mainly on public education activities. The group has held writing, photography, speech and story-telling contests, worked with the local environmental authorities to inform the public about subjects ranging from the harm of killing frogs and the illegal sale of its meat to protecting local rivers and lakes from wastes. The students also do hands-on work such as planting trees, organizing school clean-up campaigns, and attending extra-curricular classes on environmental protection. They even have an environmental summer camp when school is out of session. The field studies they have conducted have taken them far beyond the schoolyard. Since 1985, the group has travelled more than 10,000 miles. The students have surveyed major sources of pollution along the Kui River after which they wrote a report and drew up a map that they submitted to the municipal government. They also studied the offshore water pollution in the Bohai Gulf, travelled to Hunan Province to learn about dealing with pest control problems, visited Balinyou County, Inner Mongolia, to see the sandification of the area's grassland and trekked through northwestern China to examine the region's biological diversity.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World Service is the world's leading international broadcaster. Surveys indicate that it is regarded, by its listeners and viewers around the globe, as the most trusted broadcaster compared to its local, national and international rivals. Both World Service Radio and World Service Television have been at the forefront of broadcasting on sustainable development and environment issues. A good example of this is the BBC World Service Radio Education Department's major initiative Green World. This programme involved the creation and transmission of 25 series of radio programmes, produced in 22 languages, which examined the hopes and fears for the environment together with possible solutions - numbering some 249 individual programmes, covering 40 countries. The Green World initiative was on air for four months between September and December 1996. As a result, vital information was conveyed to millions of listeners who otherwise have little or no chance of accessing such information from any other source. Green World has received support from international organizations and individuals such as Jonathon Porritt and David Attenborough - both Global 500 winners. More than 50,000 special leaflets were mailed to environmental agencies and NGOs and the project was also promoted through the Internet. Feedback from listeners already suggests a very positive response to the various series, and many NGOs are now using copies of the programmes for their own educational and awareness training.BBC World Service Education Department
Centro Salvadoreño de Tecnologia Apropiada
Centro Salvadoreño de Tecnologia Apropiada (CESTA) is the most influential environmental institution in El Salvador. Founded in 1980, it has a staff of 60 and a membership of 3,000. It has an environmental page in a national newspaper and a quarterly journal. CESTA has stopped the destruction of the El Espino Forest which would have affected water availability to the 1.5 million inhabitants of the Capital, and saved the El Pescadito de Oro waterspring from being exploited by Government and industry. It has stopped 3 million tons of ash and 400 tons of used tires from being brought into the country. CESTA has a school which develops technologies to improve sanitation, reduce energy consumption, improve nutrition and make transportation environmentally-friendly. Thousands of bicycles, pedal-powered garbage collectors, water pumps, solar cookers and dryers, water filters and environmentally-friendly roof tiles have been produced. CESTA has Eco Centres in 21 communities involved in garbage recycling, reforestation, water cleaning, reduction of soil erosion, harvesting and processing of medicinal plants, production of biodegradable pesticides and firewood-saving stoves and turtle harvesting. CESTA has created a forest in the name of the 75,000 people who died during the war. Thanks to CESTA, there is now a legislative department, an ombudsman, an attorney and a police force dealing with the environment, and laws on agro-chemicals, industrial effluents, wildlife protection and the use of unleaded gasoline.
The Nation newspaper of Thailand has a tradition of publishing ground-breaking stories on the environment. Over the years, a number of environmental journalists have written bold reports that were ahead of their time. In 1993, The Nation formalized its commitment to the environment by printing a weekly environment page. James Fahn was appointed environment editor of the Earth Focus page, which contains: a lead story which reports on anything from herbal medicine to the latest energy efficiency technology; a foreign story on the environment; and a column which recaps weekly events in Thailand or the region. An overdose of alarming and negative stories tends to dull readers, thus The Nation made a conscious effort to also write more upbeat stories. The stories of which they are proudest are investigative pieces which have a significant impact. One the most controversial dealt with the construction of a hotel in southern Thailand which may have encroached on a national park. In another case, the Government revoked the license of a company after they revealed that it was importing radioactive waste from the United States of America. Following The Nation's report on a Japanese aid package to Cambodia, which included 40 tons of pesticides, the Japanese Prime Minister, who was in Thailand at the time, announced that he would look into the matter. The pesticides were subsequently impounded. The Nation's most ambitious task, however, is the attempt to make the newspaper's coverage of all events more green.
The Swire Group
The Swire Group of Hong-Kong is a multi-national company which believes in sustainable development and improved quality of life. It strives to: reduce the quantity of polluting substances, minimize the impact of its activities on the neighbourhood; increase the use of environment-friendly materials, equipment and technology; ensure that suppliers take into account the Company's environmental beliefs and discourage dealings with those who do not; and encourage the widest possible environmental awareness amongst its staff, their families and the public. Cathay Pacific, a Swire subsidiary, is replacing its aircrafts with models which will reduce CO2, CO, NOX and SO2 emissions; has recycling schemes for paper and aluminum; has introduced paperless contracts for aircraft leasing and financing agreements by using computer software and CD-ROMs; and is replacing non-recyclable plastic in-flight items with recyclable or bio-degradable ones. Swire Properties only use timber from sustainable forests. Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong has been granted one year's exemption from paying Government trade effluent surcharges as its waste water is so clean. Hong Kong Aircraft engineering has replaced a chemical cleaning agent with an environment-friendly one to clean aircraft parts. Swire Pacific provides environment-friendly bags in its Marathon Sports and Athlete's Foot stores. The Swire Group produced a video to raise environmental awareness amongst its employees, and it sponsors projects such as tree planting.
Ube is an industrial city of 175,000 and a century old coal mine which closed in 1967. Since the 1940s coal, cement and chemical factories have been a significant source of pollution in the area. Ube City established a committee, comprising university professors, industrial leaders, citizens and city officials, to clean the polluted air. The Committee decided to have industry install dust control equipment and to have the City and citizens purchase water sprays for road cleaning, and to promote the planting of greenery and flowers as part of a post second world war recovery plan. Ube City is considered a leader in the scientific approach to air pollution control using epidemiology, pollution monitoring, engineering, operation, management and investment by industry and information and education by mass media. The area's comprehensive pollution control plan started in 1976 with a series of mid-term plans which included the installation of a sewerage system, a night soil treatment plant and urban incineration plants. A recycling centre with classes for consumers recently begun operation and automatic, mobile and manual monitoring systems for air, water and noise were installed to verify compliance with quality standards. About 50 volunteers monitor odours from surrounding chemical plants. The airport plan was adjusted based on the advice of the City Environment Council, and in 1971 a joint emergency task force was established by the City's fire department and industry to cope with plant accidents and oil spills.
Xialu, a 52 sq km Township in China's Zhejiang Province, has a population of 18,000. The township has made great socio-economic and environmental progress since the 1980s. Some of the achievements include the development of an environmental education programme to raise people's awareness of environmental issues, and the publication of a book entitled Ecological Construction. They have included environmental courses in all primary and middle schools, and have organized a number of activities such as ecological gardens and ecological farms. They have rehabilitated the forest and improved vegetation in the area by setting up forest management systems and reducing activities, which put pressure on forests. As a result, more than 70 per cent of the Township has been reforested and many of the animals have returned and the water quality has improved. In addition, experimental gardens using modern agricultural methods were established, and as a result soil fertility has improved and crops returned to the paddy fields. They also reduced the amount of pesticides used. The Township does not allow industries, such as tanneries, printing and dyeing mills and cement plants, which pollute heavily to be set up in the area. Waste from industry and the community are collected and recycled. All of these activities have improved the lives and increased the lifespan of the township's residents.
The Oposa Group
In March 1990, Juan Antonio, Anna Rosario and José Alfonso Oposa, represented by their parents and 40 other children from all geographic regions of the Philippines sued the Department of Environment and Natural resources for its ecological neglect on behalf of their generation, and for generations yet unborn. The case was based on the fact that the timber license agreements issued by the Department covered 3.9 million hectares of virgin forest when, according to the records, there were only some 800,000 hectares of virgin forests remaining. In June 1991, the Regional Court dismissed the case without trial on the ground that the children did not have the legal personality to sue. However, the counsel elevated the case to the Supreme Court. In July 1993, the Supreme Court rendered a decision in favour of the children's environmental claim for ecological balance. This case has given birth to the doctrine of "generational genocide" and has set a precedent in environmental law.
Health Messengers Association
The Health Messengers Association of Romania, comprising young people between the ages of 8 and 16, deals with health and environmental issues. The projects, which they have undertaken, have had a significant impact. Their Children against Smoking Campaign forced the broadcasting authorities in Romania to stop the publicity of tobacco products and they collected more than 10,000 signatures for an anti-tobacco law. They led a campaign to Save the Trees on Dr. Obedenaru Street, which forced the Government to investigate the matter and to stop the cutting of the trees. Through their Botanical Adoption Programme they found sponsors to rebuild the botanical garden. Their Spaceship No. 2044 project involved putting into the ground, for 50 years, a capsule, which includes a report about the state of the environment in 1994 and promises to improve it. Their Endangered Species Great March was undertaken in the name of plants and animals which they are committed to protecting. The street rally included the Mayor, the Minister of the Environment and many other important dignitaries. Through their Cleaning the Springs project, the children decided to clean 31 mineral water springs. Currently, they are working with the sanitation authorities to transform Sibiu town into a healthy area. They are working on a radio programme to educate patients in hospital about the environment. They are also involved in educational training courses and workshops, and participate in live radio and TV programmes.