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http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/06/28 11:42  英语沙龙

  Let's Leave our children a Living Planet

  E Huiyuan: Most Chinese people are not quite familiar with WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature), could you give our readers a brief introduction about your organization?

  Jim Harkness: WWF is one of the world's largest environmental nongovernmental, non

  profit organizations. It was founded in 1961 in Switzerland and currently works in over 100 countries. Our mission is to stop, and eventually reverse1, destruction of the world's biological diversity and natural systems, in order to build a planet where people and nature live in harmony. In addition to helping protect wild species and habitats, WWF is also tackling major threats  overfishing,deforestation,global warming, and toxic2 pollution  that take such a devastating3 toll on our planet. In short, we do much more than just save pandas! We are really concerned as much with promoting sustainable4 development as with protecting wildlife.

  E: What major activities have you carried out in China and what achievements have you made?

  Jim Harkness: WWF has worked for almost 25 years in China. Three major actions  establishing new panda reserves5, setting up 2 million hectares1 of wetland reserves and promulgating2 National Environmental Guidelines  carried out by China's government with support from WWF, were recognized by WWF International as Gifts to the Earth.

  We began by working to help China protect the Giant Panda. After years of research on wild pandas, we worked with State Forest Administration to develop a National Action Plan for Conservation of the Giant Panda. We have helped set up new nature reserves for pandas. Today, over half of the panda's habitat is under formal protection, and we feel confident that this species has a brighter future. But as I said, we work on much more than just pandas! In 2000, we were asked to help develop National Guidelines for Environmental Education, as part of China's curriculum reform process, and those Guidelines have now become official policy. Another area that is a priority for WWF in China is conservation of freshwater resources and biodiversity.

  Our other programmes focus on conservation and sustainable management of forests, protection of unique species on the Tibetan Plateau3, conservation in the Yellow Sea, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

  E: In your opinion, what is the most serious environmental problem existing in China? What measures should we adopt to improve the everdeteriorating situation?

  Jim Harkness: There are many serious problems: air pollution, water pollution, desertification, overfishing, destruction of natural habitats, acid rain, over

  consumption of wild animals and plants, etc, etc. Behind them all, though, is the contradiction between economic growth and the environment.

  Since United Nations Earth Summit in 1992, more and more people and governments have adopted the idea of “sustainable development.” This is the idea that today's economic growth should not wipe out4 the resources and options for future generations. Planning and development need to not insure only economic growth, but also social advancement and environmental health, and this means that some economic behavior must be restricted or controlled. Instilling1 principles of sustainable development into government planning, resource management and economic policy is the most important step China could take to solve its environmental problems.

  China has already taken some remarkable steps to reduce damage to the environment. For instance, following the huge floods of 1998, the government banned logging in the upper reaches of the Yangtze river in order to protect forests and reduce flood dangers. Still, the basic contradiction between environment and development persists. Much work is to be done before we can say that China's development is truly sustainable development.

  E: I notice that the logo of WWF is China's endemic2 Giant Panda, why did you choose it instead of any other country's endangered animals?

  Jim Harkness: There were several reasons. First, the panda is beloved all over the world. Second, it is endangered. Third, it depends very closely on its habitat. As you know, wild pandas eat only bamboo, so to save them, we have to save the forests they live in. I think WWF's founders wanted to make that connection, to show that we need to save whole ecosystems, and not just put animals in zoos. Finally, there was a practical reason. In 1961, color printing was very expensive, and by choosing a blackandwhite animal for our logo, we could save money! Nonprofit organizations like WWF always have to think about how to reduce expenses, so we can spend more money on saving nature.

  E: June 5 is the World Environment Day, could you say something on it to our readers?

  Jim Harkness:I would just share one of WWF's main slogans: “Let's Leave Our Children a Living Planet!”

















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