Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Day Before Earth Day in Beijing - One World, One Dream

It’s so easy to fall in love with the Chinese people. This is my third trip to China, and my experiences have always been wonderful – I’ve always been warmly welcomed and treated with extreme kindness. But today, I put China to the test…would I be as warmly welcomed if I were not accompanied by a Chinese guide, and if my arrival went unannounced? The answer is absolutely yes!

Tomorrow I will speak on Earth Day at the 2nd Annual Summit of Green China Businesses, but today, I was a tourist. I set out in a cab by myself to tour the venues of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It was a bright and breezy day, and though I could only use hand gestures and a friendly smile to communicate with the Chinese people I met, I didn’t have a problem finding anything or getting where I wanted to be. Everything was labeled in both Mandarin and English…even the uniforms of the security officers. I found that very interesting, and I have to say, it made me feel welcome.

In 2007, I was invited to serve on the International Appraisal Committee for the Daonong Center for Enterprise, a think tank formed by the China Entrepreneur Club (CEC). It has been my honor to work with the business leaders of China to develop standards for green business, and to watch their rapid progress toward those standards in such a short time. At last year’s Summit, the Chairman of the CEC put forth an audacious and exciting goal: to make China’s economy carbon-free. I’m thrilled to be part of that vision!

Now, you might wonder why this California mom of three is spending Earth Day in China, but the fact is there is something in it for my kids. My youngest child has asthma, and 30% of the air pollution in California can be traced to China . As the Chinese move aggressively forward in reducing their carbon emissions and air pollution, the air in my hometown will be cleaner. We’re all interconnected, and by helping one another, we all win.

As I always say…the wind blows, and the water flows.

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