Actress Li Bingbing (center), an ambassador with the Earth Hour campaign in Asia organized by the WWF, joins volunteers to advocate for a low-carbon lifestyle in Beijing Wednesday. [Xinhua]
A youthful online group that calls itself the "Low-Carbon Tribe" is leading the way to an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Tribe members, who range in age from 20 to 40, say they are trying to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in a relaxed and fashionable way.
Helping save the planet is part of their daily routine, they claim, citing the way they dress, what they eat and how they travel.
Following the lead of government-sponsored environmental groups, the website Internet Forest was launched on World Earth Day, April 22, and offers netizens tips on how to be a Low-Carbon Tribe member.
Anyone can get involved.
Supermodel Jiang Peilin said she has been wearing cotton for a long time, because it is healthy and eco-friendly. She never drinks bottled water, because plastic harms the environment.
Li Huiying, a 27-year-old office worker in Beijing, takes the subway to work every day, even though she bought a car in 2006. She seldom uses her air-conditioner at home and in the office turns it down a couple of notches to save energy.
A low carbon way of life is in vogue, Jiang said.
"It shows young people also care about society and we try to influence people around us."
Li Yongmei, a spokeswoman for Internet Forest, launched by science and technology company hutong.com, says the website has had 17 million visitors so far.
She said there are online discussions with environmentalists and staff members of non-governmental organizations like the Climate Group.
It offers carbon-saving advice such as washing clothes by hand, eating less meat and climbing stairs instead of using elevators.
Li said these activities and the carbon savings they entail are based on the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), initiated by The Climate Group, the International Emissions Trading Association and the World Economic Forum in late 2005.
Some tribe members balance their carbon dioxide emissions by planting trees.
Celebrities have got in on the action and actress Zhou Xun said she spent 6,000 yuan ($879) on buying and planting 238 trees in Beijing at the beginning of this year.
She said it was to offset the amount of carbon dioxide she emitted in 2008.
Professor Chen Jiancheng, at Beijing Forestry University, said the Low-Carbon Tribe proves more Chinese are concerned about environmental protection.