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Mon, Apr 23, 2001 - Page 2 News List

Earth Day brings out the green army

CARING FOR MOTHER NATURE Government officials, and businesses joined activists to show concern for the environment and support for green action yesterday

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Two children look at insect larvae at a booth run by the Society of Wilderness during yesterday's Earth Day celebrations in Taipei.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

When ecological conservationists and officials in Taiwan campaigned for the 31st anniversary of Earth Day yesterday, some environmentalists called on citizens to live simple and economical lives.

Activists from the Homemakers' Union and Foundation (主婦聯盟) yesterday sold cloth lunch bags in Taipei to promote reusing recyclable materials rather than plastic bags.

The lunch bags are made by housewives living in central Taiwan in areas heavily affected by the 921 earthquake.

Activists from the foundation said that selling the bags promotes a more environmentally and economically conscious lifestyle and helps victims of the earthquake.

Chan Man-li (陳曼麗), board chairwoman of the foundation, told the Taipei Times that Earth Day was not the only chance for people to treasure natural resources.

"If people's environmental awareness is raised, they can fulfill their ideas of environmental protection every day," Chan said.

In Taipei's Ta-an Forest Park (大安森林公園) yesterday, officials and conservationists held an activity called the "2001 Earth Day, Embracing the Earth" (二OO一世界地球日,擁抱地球), to encourage members of the public to experience nature.

At the opening ceremony environment, agriculture and education officials held a forum to where they called on people to treasure the planet.

Environmental Protection Administration head Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said, based on his recent experience on inspecting illegal waste dumps in southern Taiwan, that environmental deterioration is very serious. Hau stressed that carrying out ideas of energy conservation in daily life is the first step to reducing pollution.

Chang Hung-lin (張宏林), an activist with the Taiwan-based Society of Wilderness (荒野保護協會), said that the diverse activities designed for the Earth Day event were intended to help participants experience nature and learn to treasure it.

The society displayed rock samples collected by its members from remote mountain areas in Taiwan to offer children living in cities a chance to observe geologic textures.

With the assistance of record companies, they also played music accompanied by calls of diverse animals in Taiwan and the sound of waves and tides recorded on the eastern coast to illustrate the beauty of Taiwan.

The idea for Earth Day evolved over a period of seven years starting in 1962 in the US. At that time, a group of concerned senators felt that the state of the environment was simply a non-issue in the country's politics.

On April 22, 1970, a nationwide grassroots demonstration was held on behalf of the environment. Demonstrators lobbied senators to draft laws pertaining to clean air, clean water and endangered animals.

Since then, concepts that emerged from the first Earth Day have influenced environmentalists, conservationists, politicians and businessmen all over the world, including Taiwan.

In the industrial sector, Applied Materials Taiwan yesterday took children to visit the Taipei Astronomy Museum.

Applied Material said that its environmentally friendly machines for producing semi-conductor materials efficiently reduce the emission of perfluorocarbons (PFCs), into the atmosphere. Semiconductor manufacturing is a large source of PFC emission.

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