Environmental News Review
Interview with Mr. Anthony Wilson
Interview with Prof. Chak Chan
Rising China, Dying China
What Graduates Say
Internship sharing - Feeding Hong Kong
跨 — 梅迪奇的遺志 EVSS Past Functions EVMT Alumni Association
Editor’s Note quired in university to improve the well-being of the suffering ones, if not to save more huIn the past three years of my tertiary eduman lives than the thousands sacrificed for my cation, I have kept thousands of people in university experience. poverty, if not killed a few human lives; so has Do you not think university students, being the every one of you who has received a subsidized degree. Read on before you disagree. pillars of our future, bear some responsibilities to our society? Do you not think university students, having been imparted with higher This is a resource-scarce world. Everything knowledge, possess greater power to transincluding your university experience comes at form our society, and that with greater power a cost. Currently, a typical bachelor degree comes greater responsibility? Do you not think is subsidized with HK$200,000 a year by the university students, having consumed so much government – take a second to calculate resource from our society, ought to have the how much subsidy has been allocated to you. welfare of society in their mind? Such subsidy could have been spent to save thousands of human lives when under-nuWhat I want to achieve in this issue trition contributes to 5,000,000 deaths of children under five each year in developing If you do agree that your university expecountries, which, given resources, is an easily rience is a luxury that comes at a huge expreventable cause; so is malaria which costs pense of our society, what can you do? My 1,000,000 deaths every year yet can be wish is humble – set aside reflection time to effectively prevented by a US$10 bed net ask yourself “why study at university?” If you unaffordable by most Africans. do not even know your purpose, and study university because everyone else is doing the same, whether you like it or not, you are tramSome people argue, “The subsidy you have pling human lives invisible to you like mud and received is legitimized through government ashes (in Chinese 草菅人命). Even if it turns decision. You bear no liability by using reout to be a selfish intention, being aware of it sources legally granted to you. Neither do at least allows informed, conscious decisions you have the right to use the HK$200,000 if it is not for tertiary education. The money will — it is time you rethought what you wanted to not go to the suffering humans anyway.” Unfor- do with your life. tunately, this is a weak argument. Read the content page and you will notice If such distribution of resources is justifiable, how the content of this issue serves to help it implies that the society expects my teryou rethink your university life. I hope all of tiary education to be more valuable than the thousands of human lives forgone. If such you will enjoy reading the rest of this issue, and gain inspirations from our insightful condistribution of resources is unjust, my privilege only implies an even stronger obligation tributors. You can subscribe to our blog at towards the vast number of children starving http://evmtust.wordpress.com/ to receive free inspirations in your inbox. Feel free to let us to death. In either case, I would be morally know your thoughts. obliged to use my knowledge and skills ac-
My deep confession
Editor-in-Chief Chan Jin Deng Keith
Environmental World Bank Policy The World Bank has financed over $5bn in coal-fired plants, $5.4bn in hydropower, but only $2bn in wind and solar projects in the past 5 years. The financing in coal-fired plants may finally be banned after the adoption of the new Energy Sector Directions Paper published on July 16. This turning of the World Bank is closely aligned with the “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative by the United Nations (which aims at achieving universal access to energy, doubling global energy efficiency, and doubling the share of renewable energy by 2030).
HFCs emission control The Montreal Protocol negotiation is ongoing. After the Chinese industries have replaced their production of the ozone-depleting agent hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) with the less damaging hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the manufacture of the latter is now under stress as many China’s major export markets are inclined to phase down HFCs. Faced with the pressure, China has finally agreed to abate HFC emission after the US-China summit on June 8. According to the White House, the deal could potentially reduce over 90 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2050.
Yet, the World Bank has been criticized for considering support for the 80 billion Inga 3 Dam project on the Congo River (which is the largest hydropower program in Africa ever, theoretically providing 40% of Africa’s electricity needs), when the International Energy Agency (IEA) recommends that “70% of the world’s unelectrified rural areas are best served through mini-grids or off-grid solutions.”
Arctic exploration and protection
Climate change is causing arctic ice to shrink substantially (18% below historical minimum), which eases the exploration for new oil, gas fields and shipping routes across the region. With an estimation of 25% of the world’s remaining oil and gas reserves located in Arctic Ocean, the region has become a target for nations and international companies, in terms of energy security and profit. Russian planted the flag on the seabed in 2007, while Shell has already spent 8 years and $5bn for permits to drill two exploratory wells there. Yet, Shell’s business has been facing obstacles time and again. On January 8, the US government ordered a review of Shell’s plan after a series of mishaps (including a grounding of a drilling ship in Alaska). It is followed by the official suspension of the 2013 drilling season in the Arctic waters on February 27.
For environmental groups, it is hoped that the pause would force the Obama administration to re-evaluate its entire plan of opening up the Arctic waters for drilling. Nevertheless, according to Shell’s statement, it is determined to revive the plan. In response to this, Greenpeace has intensified its `Save The Arctic` campaign in April by planting a flag on the north pole seabed and demanded the region declare as a global sanctuary, similar to the Antarctic Treaty System since the 1960s.
North Africa and Egypt
Egypt and other North African countries have grabbed the world’s attention in the past few years when several long-ruling dictators have been overthrow. It is often omitted that the environmental aspect is as unstable as the political one. 1. The historic disaster since the early days of agriculture: locust plague has renewed its strength. In March, Egyptian news outlets were teemed with reports and photos of the clouds of locust descending to Cairo, which had last taken place in 2004. Also, Madagascar is now battling with the worst locust plague since the 1950s, threatening the livelihood of 60% of the population, and has already destroyed a quarter of its food crops.
Methane ice While great powers like the US, the UK and China are heading for fracking to acquire shale gas, Japan has her own alternative: methane clathrate, commonly called methane ice, a crystallized form of methane and water formed under low temperature. Resource-scarce Japan, which imports most of its energy, always hopes to develop ways to produce natural gas from its own reserves. In March, the first extraction of natural gas from seabed methane ice is achieved. Although seabed methane ice extraction is more costly than fracking, it is considered a future potential energy resource, with substantial reserves in various regions including the Japan’s eastern coast, the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska. Together with emerging fossil fuels like tar sand and shale gas, it is astonishing to reveal a new analysis that fossil fuels could probably sustain human activities for the next 1000 years --- In this sense, ‘energy crisis’ would be eliminated, if we omitted the vital sign of global warming accompanied with the burning of fossil based fuels.
Text: Chan Tsz Kin Design : David Wong 2. The developmental debate on financing dam projects is accompanied with political dispute. On June 10, the former Egyptian president Morsi warned“We will defend each drop of Nile water with our blood if necessary”in response to Ethiopia’s Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which will divert part of the Blue Nile and potentially diminish Egypt’s traditional share of Nile water.
Africa’s soil diversity mapped for the first time
After 4 years of work, experts from European commission, African Union and UNFAO have mapped out Africa’s soil diversity, which has the great potential as a tool to assist policymaking on agricultural and conservational issues of African states.
Bee decline in Europe Bees are essential to our ecosystem and food security as they pollinate 3/4 of all food crops and 80% of flowering plants. After half a century since Einstein asserted“If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.”, his concern may come true when it is reported that the European bee population is declining at an annual rate of 33%, while more than half of the wild bee species were lost in the 20th century in the US. In attempt to solve the crisis, the European commission has proposed a 2-year ban on the use of Three Neonicotinoids, the world’s most widely used insecticides labeled as an “unacceptable” danger to bees and as a possible cause of bees’ Colony Collapse Disorder. After a failure on March 15 to reach a clear stance on the proposal among EU states, the landmark ban was finally carried on Apr 29, thanks to the appeal mechanism of European commission. Many observers treat the controversy as a struggle between EU’s precautionary principle and the interests of billion-making chemical manufacturers like Paterson and Syngenta. The ban is faced with intensifying lobbying against it. P.5
「我討厭政治。」 無知妙齡少女的一句話，不但換來無數網民圍攻與 謾罵，更帶出時下一些人對政治的誤解。現時政治 生態黑暗得難免會令人把政治聯想成權力鬥爭、利 益瓜葛還有長毛在立法會掟蕉等「無眼屎乾 淨盲」的污垢，最好離它愈遠愈好。但其實政治的 本質是甚麼？相信大部份人都答不到。套用社會學 大師馬克思韋伯的說法，社會其實是一個被每個人 對理想將來的期望打造出來的多 邊形，這個多邊形不是任何一個人的理想多邊形， 而是所有人集體打造出來的，權力大的、 影響力強的人相對地更有力塑造這個多邊形成為他 們的理想形狀，打造這個多邊形的過程其 實就是政治。根據此說法，如果稱政治為妥協的藝 術也不為過。 生怕那些討厭政治的人不明 白，用更淺白的說法 換句話說，
文:火 設計: David
他們的理想社會是否保存在一片寧靜的濕地、一 片井然的農田、一片有清 澈海水的沙灘？如果有，那為什麼要邊吃「環 保」有機凱撒沙津，邊對南生圍、新界東北、大 浪西灣等發展事件視而不見？帶著環保袋去買低 碳日用品但對興建焚化爐不聞不問？很酷 地穿著Timberland的地球守護者皮靴但眼白白 看著森林被蹂躪輾平？很多人想過健康的綠色 生活，但有幾個希望其他人也過綠色生活？又有 幾個曾對整個社會的環保文化有過憧憬？雖 則古語有云：「修身齊家治國平天下」修身必先 於治國平天下，但每個人都應有自己心目中 正如我上文所說，政治是為理想 社會而達成共識的過程，思想還停留在改變自己 的理想社會，把自己從自我安慰的世界、status quo的鳥籠中解放出來，並且透過參與政治 生活態度便自以為環保的人對他居住的社會 有甚麼貢獻？ 我看不出來，我只知道他們仍錯 去建構心目中的多邊形， 運用微弱、但人數多 誤地迷戀寫在產品包裝上「環保」二字，為商家 時足以聚冰成川的政治力量去推動社會變得 更環保。 製造更多利潤。
對於某些希望環境問題得以改善的人，當然會支 持環保，但更多的是對現實不了解而誤 以為自己很環保的人。不同人對環保可能有不同 的詮釋，你可以說少用即棄餐具是環保，他 可以說節省能源是環保，她可以說少用私人交通 公具是環保，但抱有此想法的人明顯對環保 只有狹隘的認識。
有人認為自己的力量不足以匹敵有權勢的人，即使自己想令社會變得環保，也會因為權 貴的操縱力或所謂霸權而徒勞無功，最後心灰意冷地退出政治。雖然你我都不能預知未 來，可是又有誰不是摸著石頭過河，慢慢經營自己的政治力量？說不定你到過香港西部海域填海 咨詢論壇後多了一班支持你立場的朋友，和你一起對抗馬料水填海興建豪宅呢﹖又說不定你 去完屯門市廣場的「城鄉共生」藝術展發現不只你，原來一班藝術家也嚮往香港的鄉村生活呢﹖
政治雖然可怕，但也很可愛。政治的舞台讓不同市民的理想碰撞，觥籌交錯間，多邊形就 成形了。這個多邊形最可愛的地方，是它仍留有一道你替它添上的綠色花紋。 P.6
he Chinachem Group is one of Hong Kongâ€™s best-known and most prolific property developers, with a successful corporate history of more than 40 years. Still the largest privately held group of its kind.
r. Anthony Wilson is the Director of Architectural Services at Chinachem Group. He is In charge of all design matters including Architectural, Landscape and Interior design for around 23 projects. Project Director for TW5 City side MTR development in Tsuen Wan. Also in charge of all sustainability matters.
What have you learnt during your working experience in Libya? First of all, I became more practical in designing buildings by
asked you to do.’ Subsequently I explained to him how to cut
having the clients and builders in mind. If you look at some
fewer tiles which meant less work and wastage of material.
modern architects today, their projects are fantastic, but it is
The worker exclaimed, ‘Ah! It is very good! You are a friend of
too expensive for the clients and too technically difficult for the
mine!’ This is really an unforgettable memory in my working
experience in Libya.
I also learnt deal with people with different nationality. One day, I saw some workers cutting too many tiles for the floor. I talked to the contractor and suggested that it could be done better. In the afternoon, one of the workers from Italy, produced a knife and said, ‘what’s wrong with my work?’ I answered, ‘there is nothing wrong with your work but there is just something wrong with what the contractor has been
From your experience in working for the HK government, how do you find the government’s mindset in promoting sustainable development, especially green buildings? The mindset has improved a lot throughout years. In the early
design. In Architectural Services Department, our integrated
days no one was so aware of the basic concepts in green build-
design teams established ISO 14001 environmental manage-
ings so there was a learning period. One time when a concept
ment system into our quality management system providing
for project was being presented, we found that the architect had
good checks and balances in our designs. We were allowed to
removed all the trees from the site without even considering de-
be innovative and installed solar panels in the Science Park
signing around them, so we had to educate trees are important
Phase 1 and Penny’s Bay Fire Station for power generation. The
and advise on the way forward.
fire station also had a rainwater recycling system to wash the fire engines and provide irrigation for the landscaping. Nowa-
Through communication and persistent effort, the HK gov-
days, government buildings incorporate energy efficiency and
ernment has increasingly shown support in green building
Were there obstacles hindering the application of green concepts in the HK government 20 years ago?
Definitely! The HK government is rightly cautious about
proposed to have green planting on the walls and the roof of
change. Let me give you an example, when we needed new
a refuse collection building, normally a client will refuse as it
computers which were faster and more powerful, the govern-
becomes a recurrent maintenance cost. Without the greenery,
ment protocol would only allow us to use equipment tested in
no problem; with it, maintenance cost. – Clients tend to focus
the market for no less than 6 months. After understanding the
to minimize costs of change than to fully embrace new green
reasons behind this requirement we agreed and purchased later.
building concepts. I understand their concerns, but at the same
Some of our government clients also posed obstacles. For
time there is a need to explain to them the bigger picture and to
example, if we are working on a refuse collection point and
try to find a compromise solution
Chinachem is one of the leading business organizations in HK. How has Chinachem contributed to promoting sustainable development? Chinachem has embraced the concept of green building and
The best way to start is to explain to every department what
environmental awareness by introducing corporate environ-
business practices are environmentally acceptable. Apart
mental policies, which is a brave thing to do. It recognizes that
from small internal office management changes like using
we can produce good quality and more healthy buildings for
double-sided copies, hotel food recycling schemes etc, we aim
people to live in. We believe it is our corporate social respon-
higher for green building certification for all new projects. Our
sibility to do something a little better than the basics, despite
current target is silver minimum. The BEAM plus system is
the fact that it does take quite a lot of effort for the design and
good but maybe can be better if the process and auditing could
project team. From our efforts in our go green campaign and
be more site-specific and flexible than it is now.
charity walks we spread awareness to all.
What are the motives for Chinachem to promote sustainable development? We are a charitable foundation and this is our social responsi-
As for green residential flats, there is no clear obvious benefit
bility. People understand that we are doing something good for
from customers in HK yet. We have observed that the cost
society â€“ and they can see it, from the green design in hotels,
to build a green unit is generally slightly higher than that of
residences and offices. This makes sense and business more
an ordinary but as a % of the project cost it is quite small. It
viable. Some clients have to rent green offices as part of their
costs a lot more to incorporate green elements into a design,
policy so they look for green certified buildings first. Overseas
the later in the process you start. The benefit of energy savings
clients especially from America and Europe are very aware of
goes to the buyer, the slight increased capital cost is born by
this. Chinachem in adopting environmental policies promotes
the developer. Some question why we have to include green
the company and sees sustainable development as a business
elements and this comes back to the big picture, less energy
usage in Hong Kong. Despite some difficulties, we try hard to strike a balance between, cost, environment of our planet and people.
How do you compare customer awareness for green building in HK and in Europe? The customers in Europe are more aware than counterparts in
energy, this option will be much more financially attractive.
HK. In the UK, many households have solar panels thanks to
The government has some incentive schemes like reducing the
incentive schemes for developers and buyers to purchase green
tax for electric cars; but not much for green power or applianc-
appliances. Legislation and incentives in Europe and America
es. It would be nice government can work on relevant incentive
are ahead on promoting the concept of green building design
schemes which can stimulate interest in sustainable design and
and renewable energy.
Incentive schemes really make a big difference. The solar farm that we have at Nina Fossil Garden, cost around $2.0m hkd resulting in a pay-back period of around 18 years without subsidy. If we could have had a subsidy for creating renewable
Text: Keith Chan, Donald Lee Design: Donald Lee
he result of EVMT 4Y admission interview has come out. What do you think of the interview? How do you select from the candidates?
The interview helps both the candidates and us to identify a good match. During the interviews, we tried to probe whether the students have a genuine interest in the interdisciplinary nature of environmental issues, which is the core theme of this program. Apart from communication skills, the ability to think independently and critically is vital to our assessment. In the interview we often ask open-ended questions to see if the candidates can defend their answers. I feel excited when students give me an answer that triggers a good debate. I am looking forward to meet the â€œ4Yâ€? students in EVMT functions.
Environment is still a new field of profession in HK important for future regional development. In what ways do you think EVMT is providing the educational needs for the field? This is very much related to the interdisciplinary nature of the program. There are plenty of disciplinary environmental programs out there but we are distinct because we are broad. Environmental and sustainability issues today are multi-faceted and they need people who can integrate information from different aspects to provide practical and sometimes out-of-thebox solutions. EVMT students play a role in filling the holes there. You are creative and can P.10
rofessor Chak Chan, Head and Professor, Division of Environment, HKUST, talks about his view on EVMT and the future of the environemental field.
make connection among multiple seemingly distant, unrelated concepts to provide novel solutions. In short, it is the ability to integrate and synthesize that would make a difference between EVMT and graduates from those of other programs.
Some students have commented that EVMT studies are broad but not technical enough. Our depth of knowledge in a certain area is relatively shallow compared with that of the professionals. What do you think about this issue? When students choose academic programs, they should understand that everything comes with a cost. That is, the opportunity cost to learn something else. Being an engineer and an environmental scientist, I do not have an illusion that we are training engineers or scientists. We are not, and students should know that too. On the other hand, your skill sets are broad and very practical. You have the ability to solve environmental problems in a holistic and integrated manner.
In fact, you should not limit yourself in developing your career in environmental or sustainability sectors. On courses, you have to ask yourself, in the existing curriculum, what prohibits you to take more technical courses if you are interested in the technical side. Taking students from diverse backgrounds, we design the curriculum to be flexible. While we provide recommendations on different tracks of studies, we expect students to make decisions that best fit their interest and career goals by balancing all the pros and cons in various options. It is not very different from solving an environmental problem in an integrated manner. Of course we are happy to discuss with students individually for academic advice. What is your perspective on the outlook of EVMT and the environmental field? The field has been growing so fast that some of the corporate advisors and my colleagues expect that, by the time you guys graduate, things will be quite different. As administrators, we set the program to be more flexible and provide directions to the students. Nevertheless, in the end, the success of EVMT depends very much on the students. I can design a very nice product and give all the sales talk, but whether the product sells very much depends on the product itself. I fully expect the graduates to go into many different types of careers. Through the interactions with our graduates and the current students with the outside world, I hope EVMT will become a gold label in the environmental and sustainability industry known for the quality of the program and the students. They will see
EVMT as a special group of people with the knowledge and skills needed for their mission. All in all, I am optimistic because of the students, especially the group that we have just admitted. I have to give a lot to credits to EVSS and EVMT students for attracting a group of good 4Y applicants to the EVMT program. Having served as the Head of Division of Environment for three years, is there anything you would want to say to the EVMT students?
A BIG THANK YOU. You have given me a lot of memorable and enjoyable moments, and sometimes excitement. It has been a very fun three years working with you. I have enjoyed our numerous discussions, academic or otherwise, and I have learned a lot in the process too. You are a special breed of students who are very energetic, outgoing, visionary, some perhaps even idealistic. Overall, I would urge EVMT students to be more â€œhungryâ€? in striving for what you want to achieve. I also hope our students can think more globally. In the end, your competitors are not just from HK but the very best ones in this business worldwide. Our students should learn more about China, especially issues of global significance, and should seek opportunities to interact with more people not just in this very small circle in HK. It is good to see that some of our graduates will work outside HK and in a diverse industry. I wish you all the best and Be happy.
Text: Keith Chan Design: Donald Lee P.11
What Graduates Say
I have been aspiring to develop a career in the environmental field since high school. We live comfortable lives, experience materialistic joy, yet the environmental consequences and the resulting social issues are always in my mind. In 2010, when I ranked the university program choices, EVMT undoubtedly became my first priority, even though it was a new program. These three years were wonderful. I was passionate about my studies; and whatâ€™s more important is the great people I have met here. EVMT-ers are special. We are enthusiastic, thoughtful and have aspirations to make contributions to our society. I feel proud of
The past three years of study in EVMT have been an important stage of my life. I am grateful that in this short period of time, I have had different opportunities to meet many brilliant people, gain valuable insights from them, and develop myself as a more mature person. I am also happy that I have met many good friends in these three years in EVMT. The joyful time we spent together in classes, field trips and various events will certainly remain as pleasant memories of mine. Looking ahead, many of us are going to pursue his/her own career through different paths. I P.14
Finally, EVMT has the first batch of graduates. First of all, we wish all of the best to them! There are 5 graduates who had something to say to us.
Design: Donald Lee
being an EVMT student, and feel thankful to all of you who have made my dream come true. As a graduate, there are two things I would like to do: stay in touch with EVMT friends and contribute to the further development of EVMT program. So if there is anything about EVMT that I, as a graduate, can provide help, please let me know!
sincerely wish everyone could keep the passion we had on the first day we entered EVMT and successfully achieve our goals someday. For other EVMT-ers, I hope that you could work harder, treasure the precious friendship with your fellow classmates, and leave no regrets in your university life.
To freshmen in the society: Dear Year 3 students, if you are now panicking as well as being reluctant against anything related to job hunting, I know that feeling, brother. Dear Year 2 students of both 3&4 year cohorts, I understand that you do not feel you are relevant to the topic, because you are. You may not find me convincing, but here are some tips that may help you on your way: Find a job that you don’t hate is more important than finding a job that you love. Because you can accept much more uncertainty in a job that you don’t hate. Do not forget the silly dreams you had had before you entered the society, no matter how unrealistic they are. Do not try to please everyone, please yourself. Last, but not least, stay real but dream on!
I had a great time in my three years of university. But if you ask me do I have any regret, then I would tell you I regretted that I didn’t start taking my academics seriously earlier. But anyways, life isn’t about regrets, it’s about what you do today that is going to change tomorrow, because the past is unchangeable. In the end, I just need to know that I’m moving forward constantly. So if I have any advice for you all, I would say get your priorities right and make smart choices. Live the present and to begin, it all starts with gratitude.
Being the first batch of EVMT graduates would be the most exciting thing across my entire university life. I would never forget how EVMT have enriched and changed my life. After graduation, I entered the financial industry. Often, I received comments and questions about why one studying Environmental Management would end up in the financial sector. Then I asked them, why couldn’t I be? Recalling one of the reasons I studied in EVMT was to act as a bridge between the environmental sector and others. Now I see myself linking up the financial and the environmental sector. So no matter which sector I’m working in, it does not mean that I would ever stop planting the idea of sustainability.
Dear fellow, I sincerely hope that no matter what career or jobs you are settling in or going for, you can always contribute to sustainability in your own way. Just remember your passion in life, your love for the environment and go ahead chasing your dreams. Wish the Class of 2013 all the best!
Published on Sep 26, 2013