In his Beyond Beauty: Taiwan From Above (看見台灣), Taiwanese director Chi Po-lin (齊柏林) showed scenes of ravaged land and ecological desolation, which are the result of the government’s development push during the Hau era.
When Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and the current Cabinet saw the devastation in Beyond Beauty, Shen was obliged to observe the hardships of those environmental activists and groups — in his own words, “certain politically affiliated elements” — who worked to protect Taiwan’s natural heritage and safeguard the beautiful island that has been handed down to us by previous generations. Had it not been for the sacrifices and efforts of these individuals, we would now be left with precious little to pass on to subsequent generations.
Republic of China founding father Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙) once said that politics is the concern of the people. Similarly, the environment is a public issue that concerns the lives and the very survival of the public and of future generations. There is no such thing as someone being “affiliated” with someone else when they fight to protect the environment: There is only whether or not we are prepared to allow the treasured natural heritage bequeathed to us by our forebears to be commandeered by certain selfish politicians and corporations.
Andy Tung is the secretary-general of the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union.
Translated by Paul Cooper