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C-Nature: We Care about Nature, care about people.
    2010-08-12 16:32:09     CRIENGLISH.com
If you ever think you cannot make a difference in the world, listen to this.

A group of just four people has galvanized the support of thousands of others to help them protect the environment.

The C-Nature Conservation Association, a private, non-profit organization, was created nearly four years ago. Its passionate staff members have persuaded hundreds of thousands of volunteers to join them and for all of them, it's proven to be a life-changing experience. 

Zhang Cheng finds out more.

The sleeping tents of  "back to nature" summer camp organised by CNature in Gansu Province.[photo:cnature.org]

The Association organizes various activities each year, most recently a 20-day camp in Gansu Province in northwestern China, which attracted more than 100 volunteers from China and abroad.

For all those taking part, it was a true "back to nature" experience in the driest place in China C tents instead of hotels, river water for drinking instead of tap water, and wild plants to eat instead of food from the supermarket. Apart from those inconveniences, the volunteers also took part in environmental activities such as planting trees to resuscitate this driest of places. It was no wonder that when an 18-year-old girl had finished cooking a meal of fried potatoes for the whole team, she wept with joy and relief at being able to nourish them.

"Before taking part in that activity, she was a bit selfish and didn't know anything about caring for other people. However, life in Gansu was a whole lot different for the volunteers from their everyday lives. In Gansu, for example, that girl had to find her own food and had to work with others people to get enough to eat. Sometimes she even needed to share what she found with her friends. I remembered clearly that on the day she cooked fried potatoes for the team, she cried and said she had never cooked at home, and had not imagined that her cooking could make so many people happy. Finally she knew that giving made her so much happier than receiving."

The person just speaking was Li Li, one of C-Nature's few staff members. Before joining them, she worked as a journalist at a provincial newspaper, but she'd been drawn by C-Nature's environmental slogan and quit her job to become an environment protector. She says it has been the most important decision she has ever made.

"Our slogan is 'Environmental Protection can be easy and public activities can be fashionable.' What we do is ask people aged 18 to 35 to make efforts to protect the environment. Young people are always full of energy and passion. We hope that through their activities, like the one in Gansu, they can rediscover their own self-worth and find meaning in their lives."

C-Nature has enlisted the support of college students, young working people and even foreigners. Thanks to their help of these volunteers, C-Nature representatives are now seen regularly at Chinese music festivals. In May this year, for example, C-Nature launched a "Garbage Bin Design Competition" at the MIDI music festival, the biggest outdoor music festival in China.

Li says they made a big difference to the event.

"Generally speaking, music festivals always attract young people who are full of energy and passion. However, in the last few years, the venues have always ended up looking like rubbish dumps. Now, thanks to C-Nature, fans can see our posters on the stage and at the MIDI festival we also tried out a "Garbage Bin Design Competition" designed to draw attention to our environmental campaign and we received good feedback. The whole place became much cleaner than ever before."

C-Nature also communicates with other countries and is now running a campaign, calling on college students from all over the world to get involved in environmental protection.

Li Li says after being involved with C-Nature since late-2006, her lifestyle has changed as have her attitudes towards life.

"It has changed me a lot. Now my motto in life is 'less is more'. In the past I had a shower every day but now I only have one three times a week. I have also discovered that living a simple life lowers your expectations and you become happier because you don't need a materialistic life but a high quality of spirit instead."

A quick visit to the homepage of C-Nature's website gives lots of people's opinions about the meaning of the letter C. One says it means Creativity, another says Care, and for another, it means Commitment. No matter what the definition, C-Nature reflects young people's determination to live in a more natural planet, one in which we are kinder to our environment.

For CRI, I'm Zhang Cheng.


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