HK Time Out Magazine: Earth Day, Column #1

Between 2009 and 2013, I contributed a short, light-hearted fortnightly political column to Time Out Hong Kong.

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Earth Day
Beyond the tree-hugging hippies of Lamma Island, the City of Lights is not exactly renowned for its eco-awareness. However, with Earth Day coming up this week, and the economy sliding faster than a greased-up penguin, Hong Kong has a golden green opportunity to clean up its act.

As a small and wealthy territory, it should be easy to switch our investment from endless infrastructure projects to environmental initiatives. New Zealand, Norway and even the Maldives have made carbon neutral promises, so instead of bridges to nowhere (or indeed, Macau) and cynical token gestures, surely it’s time for Hong Kong to grow a spine and become the world’s first green city!

Money earmarked for construction could be redirected to renewable energy projects, electric cars, cleaner public transport, upgrading buildings, LED street lighting and much stricter regulation of companies and industry.

With the health of our children at stake, it’s time to get angry. Our eco-credentials may be appalling, but zealous outbursts work well in Hong Kong. Whether it’s hurling bananas at the Great Bow-tied One or having a hissy-fit at the airport check-in counter, throwing a wobbly is almost always guaranteed to garner attention or get results (‘Airport Auntie’ got free air tickets!). It works on a larger scale too – just look at the Article 23 protests back in 2003 – mass protest works every time, and the government backed down.

So I beseech you all – insist the government redirects its spending by redirecting your own pent-up anger at our lazy politicians. Next time you spot John Tsang on the street, simply roll around on the floor and bawl out for a meaningful WHO approved air pollution ordinance! Why, is that Donald Tsang over there? Squeal like a banshee demanding lighting regulations as part of a low-carbon economy!

If this sounds too much like losing face, at least write a letter and join us at the next Greenpeace rally. Opportunities like this are rare, so let’s campaign for a green reforms and put our money where our lungs are!