Taiwan is known for being a green oasis in Asia. The New York Times has touted initiatives such as the Beitou Public Library’s solar panels which generate electricity and the indoor garden at Da-an Forest Park metro station. But to those of us who live here, the term “green oasis” can sometimes seem far from reality. Beaches and hiking trails are littered with trash and sights like Ma-anshan Nuclear Power Plant (馬鞍山核能發電廠) on Nanwan Beach (南灣) in Pingtung County, for instance, are not just an eyesore, but a constant reminder of potential health risks.
For those interested in learning more about where Taiwan stands in terms of green technologies and economic growth, John Mathews, professor in management at Macquarie University in Sydney and author of the newly-released book Global Green Shift, will speak about the topic at a series of lectures in Taipei and Hsinchu taking place tomorrow and next week and organized by Hu Mei-chih (胡美智), a professor at National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu.
In his book, Mathews posits that Taiwan was one of the “Asian Tigers” to industrialize rapidly over the last few decades by targeting key industries such as IT and semiconductors, though it’s China that is investing in green infrastructure such as solar farms, wind farms and electric vehicles. Despite this, Mathews sees Taiwan moving away from nuclear power and fossil fuels as a promising sign.
Photo: Dana Ter, Taipei Times
“Taiwan already knows very well how to build new high-tech industries as an industrial latecomer,” Mathews tells the Taipei Times. “There are very good reasons for Taiwan to pursue a green strategy with all speed and dispatch.”
Hu agrees, th ough she thinks that there’s still some catching up to do in the realms of civic consciousness and environmental awareness.
“We cannot expect the environmental awareness in a latecomer country such as Taiwan to immediately advance to the level of Western countries,” Hu says.
However, she adds that the way in which young people are turning to technology to voice concerns over environmental pollution and promote sustainability is a positive change.
Looking to the future, Mathews proposes that one way forward would be to build “eco-cities” in Taiwan, perhaps following the Singapore model of building not only parks, gardens and green spaces but also making use of renewable resources to eliminate carbon waste.
“Taiwan has dense urban development but as a semi-tropical island, it is also blessed with much greenery,” Mathews says. “This could provide incentive to create new urban eco-spaces.”
He adds that the views expressed by US President Donald Trump have so far been in favor of maintaining fossil fuels while derailing green industries such as renewable resources.
“There is a historic opening now for countries in East Asia to seize the initiative and create world-leading new green industries,” Mathews concludes.
What: The Role of Taiwan in the Global Green Shift, talk by John Mathews, Macquarie University
When and where:
■ Tomorrow from 1:30pm to 2:30pm at Taiwan Institute for Economic Research (台灣經濟研究院), 16-8 Dehui St, Taipei City (台北市德惠街16之8號), Room 208
■ Monday from 9:30am to 11:30am at Chung-hua Institute for Economic Research (中華經濟研究院), 75 Changxing St, Taipei City (台北市長興街75號), Room 322
■ Tuesday from 10am to 12pm at National Tsing Hua University (國立清華大學), 101, Guangfu Rd Sec 2, Hsinchu City (新竹市光復路二段101號), TSMC Building R901
Who would have thought that Taiwan — just over 100km from China and a few hundred kilometers away from Vietnam, which are the world’s first and second biggest consumers of pangolin scales — would become the last beacon of hope for this imperiled species? In fact, pangolins — from sub-species in Africa all the way down to Indonesia — are the world’s most highly trafficked mammal. Thought to cure anything from HIV to hangovers, ground pangolin scales and pangolin soup (the photos online are difficult to stomach) are expensive delicacies in Vietnam and China, and the rarer the species becomes,
Sifting through the last week or so of writing on Taiwan in the major media, the original title of this piece was going to be “Three Cheesy Pieces.” But in truth, the flow of effluent from the media exceeds my ability to represent it in a single pithy headline. It seems that the output of bad writing on Taiwan is equal to the square of the amount of attention our island nation receives. TRIFECTA OF TURGIDITY Leading off a terrible 10-day of prose on Taiwan was the The Economist’s piece, “The Most Dangerous Place on Earth” with Taiwan on the cover. The
May 10 to May 16 Many elderly people wept as the crowds flooded Raohe Street (饒河街) on May 11, 1987. It had been over a decade since the street was this busy, the Minsheng Daily (民生報) reported. Locals set up altars along the way, praying that the grand opening of the Raohe Street Night Market would reverse their fortunes. It was Taipei’s first night market with government-mandated traffic control hours, banning cars from 5pm to midnight. “This is a great way to manage a night market, and other locales should follow suit,” the article stated. There were still some kinks to
The degree of a hike’s difficulty is directly proportional to how much conversation people will engage in. Barely a peep, for example, is heard from those summiting Jade Mountain’s main peak (玉山, 3,952m). The steep ascent to the ancient Aboriginal village of Kucapungane (舊好茶, Jiuhaocha) in Taitung County finds only the most experienced energized enough to weave a tale or utter an anecdote. A hike along the Jinshueiying Ancient Trail (浸水營古道, 1,490m), however, with its moderate inclines and long stretches of mostly horizontal path, ensures that hikers will engage in all kinds of banter. And that’s the problem — if