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Chen Yongsong: Sustainable Development and Public Participation in China

Events | International Visitor Leadership Program

Please bring your lunch and join the PSU Institute for Sustainable Solutions, the PSU Urban Sustainability Accelerator, The Climate Trust, and the World Affairs Council of Oregon to learn about how one grassroots organization in China is promoting awareness of two values that receive little Chinese attention: sustainable development and public participation. 

Chen Yongsong is the director of the Yunnan Green Education Center where he advocates for resource management and policy and provides both Chinese and international university students with leadership opportunities through the Green Home for Youth. Mr. Chen seeks not only to protect the environment but also to change society through volunteerism.

He has set up demonstrations of household biogas and other types of renewable energy and has created an exhibition center in a rural area. Mr. Chen instructs young people and farmers on agricultural waste recycling, mitigation of carbon dioxide emission by means of biogas demonstration.

Mr. Chen is the founder of EcoNetwork (Yunnan shengtaiwang), an environmental NGO headquartered in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province. In 2000, he joined an informal network of international NGOs focused on environmental issues and noticed that there were few Chinese participating. The lack of Chinese interest made him realize the importance of public participation in protecting the environment and he continued to keep the NGO network alive as a mechanism to promote social responsibility around this topic. 

In 2001 he came to the U.S. to learn about volunteerism and advocacy through the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), a U.S. Department of State sponsored professional development program. He arrived in the U.S. on September 12, 2001, the day after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. He visited Portland through the World Affairs Council of Oregon as part of that visit and is returning through the Council in 2015 as part of a special initiative of the IVLP for outstanding alumni to share stories of his work in China. 

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