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Sustainable futures at Beijing expo

Updated: 2013-11-21 17:31
By Nigel Moffiet and Liao Yuan (

Sustainable futures at Beijing expo

Communication is vital: Stephanie Tansey, who teaches dialogue and communication at Beijing Normal University, says we need to connect more deeply with the environment. Photo provided to

“People in Beijing love to complain about the pollution and the fake products," says event organizer Colin Freidman. So it made sense for him to plan the city's second Environment and Sustainability Fair.

The free public event, with 46 exhibitions, took place on Saturday, Nov 9, at the Hilton hotel. Charities and companies promoted their work in areas such as organic farming, air filters, traditional medicine, hand-made soaps, fashion, crafts, and sustainability throughout China.

Friedman says the first fair, which was held in June this year, was so popular that people demanded the second event.

"At the end of the first exhibition people told me ‘don't wait a year, we want another one.'”

Friedman, who came to China in the late 90s as an irrigation engineer, says he also created the event as a way to reignite his interest.

"I've been involved in the environmental side of things but somewhere along the line I stopped doing that.

"I started organizing various events and I wanted something that tied in with my profession and the environmental side of it,” he says.

Stephanie Tansey was at the event to talk about her research on sustainability throughout China.

In her book Recovery of the Heart, Tansey interviews nine Beijing residents who have committed themselves to sustainable projects either through their own business or through their own personal relationship with nature.

"I wrote it in 2011. Issues have been changing around that time," she says.

"It's terrible to have all this pollution but maybe it's changing poison into medicine, as Beijing residents are now getting really serious, and the government is getting serious."

As part of her next book, which explores what ordinary people want in a sustainable future, Tansey says her research has shown people are beginning to demand things like organic farms, and ordinary people are thinking of ways they can improve the environment.

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