Beicology: See Ma Jun, "China's Foremost Environmentalist," at the Embassy of Ireland, April 20
Beicology is a regular column about environmentalism, conservation and all things ecological in Beijing. If you have eco-related story tip, contact the author at the email address below.
Ma Jun, arguably China's most famous and well regarded environmentalist, will be giving a rare public appearance at the Embassy of Ireland on April 20 (the Beijing International Society (BIS) is coordinating the event).
The 48-year-old Beijing based activist graduated from Beijing's University of International Relations in 1993 and went on to work as a reporter for the South China Morning Post. "During his frequent business travels, Ma noticed how the environment in many parts of China had been deteriorating," says China.org.cn, before detailing how Ma penned a book called "China's Water Crisis," that outlined the Mainland's river and lake pollution issues.
In 2006 he founded the NGO Institute for Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), for which he is still the director. But Ma rose to international prominence a few months later, after he and his team unveiled the "China's Water Pollution Map," an app that offered an unprecedented level of information about pollution and polluters in China. China.org.cn describes the app as "an open-source online database of water pollution records dating back seven years."
That prompted Time magazine to call Ma " China's foremost environmental activist." The publication went on to not only praise the app but also Ma's more "creative way forward" that forwent "overtly pressuring the government – a strategy that rarely succeeds in China" and instead cutting "a deal to put China's records about pollution by Western firms and their suppliers online, then used that information to quietly pressure the companies." That article was followed by a profile in the Guardian in which Ma said "I think its time to change and balance the environment and growth. If we don’t do that we’re going to suffer a hard landing one day very soon."
The event's coordinators say that Ma will use the occasion to "talk to us about the impact of pollution, take a closer look at China’s green policies and ask what solutions are most likely to produce results."
Ma Jun will give a talk about Chinese ecology at the Embassy of Ireland on April 20 at 7.30pm. Non-members can attend a single lecture for RMB 60, students with valid ID, RMB 30. The event is put on by the Beijing International Society (BIS). Only foreign passport holders may attend. For more information, click here.