Picking up environmental pieces

People hang a lot of shit on China for pollution and environmental damage. It is easy to point fingers and there are serious issues with pollution and environmental degradation, but the big end of town does not simply = the everyperson. This week I stopped and visited one of the local environment care groups out on Zhoushan Island. I was passing through on my way for a surf. They were an amazing group of people; ordinary people – farmers, fisherfolk, hotel workers, street stall vendors, factory workers, shopkeepers – who have taught themselves about how their local area functions environmentally so that they can rehabilitate what a large shipbuilding company destroyed. They know what to remove, what to leave, what to replant and can tell the difference between native versions of things and that which shouldn’t be there. Once a fortnight they get out of bed in the early morning and put in a couple of hours of unpaid labour for the benefit of the environment and local wildlife, and then go off to work 15-16 hours shifts for fuck all money. Some of them work with several groups. And they are cheery and friendly at that hour of the morning, which is well beyond me. Respect.

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