Sun, May 08, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Artists hope to raise awareness about wetland

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff Reporter

Artists and writers shared their poetry and songs in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei (MOCA Taipei) yesterday to spread awareness about their efforts to establish a Dacheng wetlands reserve to protect the natural environment.

The half-day event was held by several artists and writers who were opposed to the planned construction of a Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology Co naphtha cracker complex in Changhua County’s Dacheng Township (大城), and was presented in collaboration with environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as MOCA Taipei.

The event began with a short parade on the streets, followed by performances by artists on a stage in front of MOCA Taipei, allowing them to express their concern for the Dacheng wetlands.

Next to the stage was an eco-friendly market, with booths set up by various NGOs to sell local farm goods or to promote environmental protection concepts.

A photo exhibition of the Dacheng wetlands is also being held at MOCA Taipei. The exhibition runs until June 6 and is free.

“Although the plan to build a plant was finally dismissed by the government last month, what is now being planned for the wetlands is uncertain, so we hope the government designates the wetland a reserve,” said Vickie Chou (周秀樺), co-host of the event and a member of the National Youth Alliance Against Kuokuang.

She said that using art and the outdoor market was a soft way to communicate to the public.

Changhua-based writer Wu Sheng (吳晟) said that although the plant will not be constructed in Changhua anymore, this is not the end of the matter.

Performers at the event included pop-rocker Bobby Chen (陳昇), whose hometown is near the mouth of the Jhuoshuei River (濁水溪) in Changhua, and the Hakka singer Sheng Xiang (生祥), who once formed a band to protest against the construction of a reservoir in his hometown, Meinong District (美濃) in Greater Kaohsiung. They both sang songs that were inspired by the Kuokuang case.

At the market booths, many NGOs were introducing the concept of “environmental trust” to people. They talked about the idea of buying the wetland by asking thousands of people to each buy a tiny share of the wetland to preserve the wildlife and protect it from being artificially developed.

The concept was borrowed from previous examples in England and Japan, but so far the law permitting such environmental trusts has not passed yet in Taiwan, they said.

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