Meet climate champion, Sheri Liao, plus Planetwork, and climate champions, Environmental Rights Action, Nigeria!
Meet Climate Champ–Sheri Liao, PlanetWork Climate Champs–Environmental Rights Action Nigeria!
MEET CLIMATE CHAMPION, SHERI LIAO
Sheri Liao is an activist, journalist, and perhaps the most important environmentalist in China today. Not much is known about her early life prior to her attending college. After graduating from Sun Yat-sen University in 1986, Liao taught philosophy as a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, where she first gained an interest in environmental philosophy. She began to read environmentalist works and film documentaries on China’s ecological plight that appeared on China Central Television.
She then served as a visiting scholar at the University of North Carolina, where she claims to have first discovered the role that civil society can play in environmentalism. She returned to China in 1996 and founded the non-government organization Global Village of Beijing. Her idea is to promote “a life of harmony” through reduced consumption and decreased use of harmful practices in daily lives. She served as an environmental adviser on the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games.
Through her role as president of Global Village of Beijing, she has produced models for green neighborhood complexes, rural communities, and organized many public awareness campaigns regarding pollution, recycling and reducing consumption. Liao was named a “Hero of the Environment” (TIME, 2009) and winner of the Clinton Global Citizen Award (2008), Liao is the founder and president of the non-government organization Global Village of Beijing.
Since the 2008 Szechuan earthquake, she has devoted herself to creating ecological villages in the devastated areas. She is working passionately against China’s move to depopulate the countryside and produce its food by industrial methods. Said Liao, “The world might need more Ph.Ds, but what China really needs is an environmental group.”
We need to work the planet to save the climate. That’s cool. We’re getting help from Planetwork. Planetwork is a San Francisco based network using information technology to address the pressing issues of our time – climate change, loss of biodiversity, social & economic justice, and true democracy. In July 1998, at the height of the dot.com bubble, Jim Fournier, Elizabeth Thompson, Erik Davis, David Ulansey, Mike Vincenty and Heather Newbold founded Planetwork.
It was founded with the recognition that the only phenomenon growing as fast as the global ecological crisis was the global communications system and that with it, we could address the biggest threats facing humanity and the planet. Current Planetwork projects include Linktank, focused on IT and global ecology. It’s “dedicated to the creation and maintenance of a digital communications platform, operated as a public interest utility, that will strengthen civil society by enabling people to connect, communicate, make transactions, and self-organize in a manner that is consistent with the highest principles of democracy and reflects an enlightened understanding of the fragile beauty of our planet.”
Planetwork’s other projects include the Bloom Network, Bee Audacious, Climate Path Solutions, KinderBlast and the Solstice Grove Institute.
DEEPER DIVE: PLANETWORK
CLIMATE CHAMPIONS, ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS ACTION, NIGERIA
Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria is a Nigerian advocacy group dedicated to the defense of the Human ecosystem in terms of human rights. ERA/FoEN is the Nigerian chapter of the Friends of the Earth International (FoEI). The organization’s committed struggles for environmental human rights has won it recognition through awards such as Sophie Prize (1998) for excellence and courage in the struggle for environmental Justice and the Bloomberg Award for Tobacco control activism (2009)
ERA is dedicated to the defense of human ecosystems in terms of human rights, and to the promotion of environmentally responsible governmental, commercial, community and individual practice in Nigeria through the empowerment of local people. It describes itself as having two purposes:
- to act as a peaceful pressure group, campaigning for change in the policies of governmental, non-governmental and commercial organizations where those policies are likely to act against environmental human rights; and
- to enable local people to defend their environmental human rights in law.
Why does Nigera’s Environmental Rights Action matter to us? It’s all about Article 24 of the African charter of Human and Peoples’ Right which states: “All people shall have a right to (a) generally satisfactory environment favorable to their development.” Ultimately, ERA believes that a respect for all forms of life is an essential foundation to human happiness. In other words, a genuine concern for humankind and our habitat depends upon a respect for other animals and their habitats, and upon recognition of the importance of diversity.
Humankind cannot achieve happiness in a degraded environment; living in harmony with other forms of life (as in some traditional relationships between people and their environment) is in itself a human rights. Furthermore, every individual and responsible human being has an equal right to happiness, regardless of his or her wealth.