On Earth Day yesterday, representatives of five environmental organizations met with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to give him suggestions on environmental issues, including the protection of endangered species and laws to encourage environmental protection.
Since 2010, a number of environmental groups have held annual meetings with Ma on Earth Day. This year, environmental groups disagreed among themselves on whether to meet with Ma. Some groups were determined not to meet with Ma to express their dissatisfaction with the government’s treatment of the Sunflower movement, while some groups said that while civic movements are important, it is also important to make changes by influencing policymakers.
Among the five environmental groups’ representatives yesterday was Society of Wilderness president Lai Jung-hsiao (賴榮孝).
He said the suggestions he gave to Ma were based on results gathered from 2,157 valid responses in a survey about the public’s attitude regarding events held to mark Earth Hour and Earth Day this year.
Lai said the public thinks that the government should protect forests, as well as marine and wetland habitats that can regulate the climate, make corporations more responsible for environmental issues and establish “green” manufacturing models, as well as making laws regarding sustainable national land use.
The Wild Bird Federation Taiwan, the Taoyuan Local Alliance and the Pingtung County Environmental Protection Union also gave suggestions on wildlife habitat protection, strategies for greenhouse gas reduction, pesticide control, conservation of endangered species and other issues.
Representatives from the Life Conservationist Association gave suggestions on the protection of animal rights, including asking Ma to visit animal shelters to better understand the conditions stray animals experience.
Life Conservationist Association founding chairperson Shih Chao-hwei (釋昭慧) said she asked Ma about his opinions on the safety inspections and the proposed referendum about the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮).
Ma replied that the plant would not start operations if it does not pass inspections, and even if it passes, he is in favor of deciding the plant’s fate through a referendum.
“I told Ma: ‘You are not only the leader of the pan-blue alliance, but also the leader of our nation, so I hope you can love everyone in your role,’” Shih said.