From July 12th to 15th, more than 200 students and 50 guest speakers in the field of environmental protection attended the 8th International Youth Summit on Energy and Climate Change held by China Youth Climate Action Network in Beijing. Guided by the core themes of “Zero-Carbon, Green Future, and Eco-City”, the summit is divided into four forums under the specific topics of: Green Building, Low Carbon Transportation, Ecosystems, and Resources.
As an architectural engineer, I mainly focused on “Green Building” and gained insight of sustainability in the perspectives of an architect and an engineer. Mr. Holm introduced the idea of “passive design”, a major method of designing sustainable architecture, for instance, by controlling the orientation and the size of windows to maximize natural light that flow into buildings. Mr. Kan, on the other hand, told his story of “Shanghai Center” and his engineering innovation—the strongest wind-resistant structure of skyscrapers and indoor circulation systems to demonstrate what engineers can do to save natural resources. Other experts discussed the relationship between economic development and green architecture. A prosperous trend of green architecture cannot live without a prosperous economy that provides sufficient capital and fund for costly building materials, as well as governmental regulations that standardize the requirement of green buildings and supervise market transactions. I was shocked to see that so many experts and real estate businessmen devote themselves into sustainable buildings, even if they cannot obtain much profit out of such a newly- introduced idea. Meanwhile, I was greatly encouraged to start my career in green buildings and make contributions to a more sustainable living environment.
As a representative of Earth Day Network, I received insightful advice from guest speakers regarding EDN’s 2017 campaign for Global Climate Literacy. Instead of paying attention to environmental education in the under-developed west part of China, several experts suggested such education project should be launched in large cities where most natural resources are consumed. According to the research, the carbon emission of a university is greater than that of a large industrial manufacturer. Therefore, college students need to recognize their enormous carbon footprints and learn to reduce unnecessary carbon emissions. Meanwhile, rural area residents need help to adapt to exacerbated living conditions caused by frequent floods and droughts. It is more meaningful to teach them how to minimize the impact of natural disasters and how to maximize the use of the scarce natural resources there.
Although China is still a freshman in environmental protection, we can notice her gradually significant role across the globe—she is willing to sacrifice unreasonable economic boost for the sake of a sustainable future. Simultaneously, we, youth, the leading force of future development, are also keeping an eye on sustainability, and will create a world in harmony with nature.