Tue, Jan 05, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Activists, writers urge sustainability

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

A group of environmentalists and writers yesterday launched an “environmental priorities coalition” to promote sustainable development, calling on voters to support the Green Party-Social Democratic Party Alliance and to vote against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which they said has depleted natural resources for development.

Headed by poet Wu Sheng (吳晟), the coalition includes dozens of environmental groups and prominent writers and academics, who urged voters to support the alliance in sending environmentally conscious candidates into the legislature ahead of the Jan. 16 presidential and legislative elections.

Wu said that the KMT is responsible for the exhaustion of natural resources for economic growth, which has been the mainstay of Taiwan’s development over the years, while the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has assimilated that development mindset, resulting in increasingly serious pollution problems.

“The KMT must be crushed in this election so that it can reflect on its mistakes. We should also supervise the DPP’s government [if it wins the elections], because it has been influenced by the KMT’s development mindset. We will cast legislator-at-large ballots for the alliance so there is supervision in the legislature,” Wu said.

Taiwan Environmental Protection Union Pingtung office director Hung Hui-hsiang (洪輝祥) said electricity in Taiwan ranks among the cheapest in the world, because the government has subsidized power for industries, thereby encouraging energy and pollution-intensive businesses at the expense of the environment, a policy that will lead to intergenerational injustice, as it leaves pollution to later generations.

Homemaker United Foundation secretary-general Lai Hsiao-feng (賴曉芬) said that the foundation had rarely endorsed a particular party in the past, but Taiwan’s environment has deteriorated at an alarming rate, resulting in a recent series of food scares, so it decided to step forward and support the alliance and its environmentally conscious candidates.

While the foundation’s former president, Chen Man-li (陳曼麗), is a legislator-at-large candidate under the DPP banner, she is one of the few environmentalists to be recruited by either major party, so her candidacy might simply be an attempt to boost the DPP’s image rather than the formation of a new force in the legislature, Lai said.

Changhua County Environmental Protection Union secretary-general Shih Yueh-ying (施月英) said she has witnessed the perseverance of alliance legislative candidates Lee Ken-cheng (李根政) and Thomas Chan (詹順貴) on environmental protection since 2006, when the two were members of an Environmental Protection Administration committee that was reviewing the much-maligned Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology Co refinery project in Changhua.

Taiwan needs a better political system, National Chengchi University professor Hsu Shih-jung (徐世榮) said, adding that Lee and Chan, as well as the alliance’s other candidates, could be trusted to bring about political reform, as they would never be bought by corporations.

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