by Kontau in Beijing.
I was standing behind the stage when Imogen Heap, Nadirah X, Greenpeace guitarists and Chinese rock musicians joined together to perform the song "Go Green". Thousands of young people were waving their hands with the peace sign, and singing along the chorus "Go green, Greenpeace!" This was truly the most memorable moment of my Greenpeace life.
This was the final night of the four-day Midi Rock Music Festival, the
largest outdoor music festival in China. 50,000 rock music fans came to the
park to listen to more than 100 Chinese and overseas bands play over the four days. The crowd were here for the music, but also for the
atmosphere. Like every rock music festival, the Midi is young, dynamic and
even explosive. But what makes the Midi unique compared to its western
counterparts, is there is no place in China where one can dress in full punk
gear without drawing curious eyes, or run around the park with a "Rock China!"
red flag without drawing the police. In the words of the organiser: "The
young people come here for freedom."
Greenpeace is the co-organiser of this year's Midi festival, and the
organiser kindly agreed to make "Green & Peace" the theme for 2007.
What does this mean for Greenpeace? It means that 50,000 young people can
watch Greenpeace videos on stage during every break session; they can come
to our booth to learn what Greenpeace is doing to protect the environment in
China and globally; they can go inside a tent and watch a movie about the global
environmental crisis; they can join the graffiti artists and paint on the
wall about green and peace; and they can give their contacts to us and
become part of Greenpeace community.
A festival is probably not the ideal place to learn about melting glaciers,
polluted rivers, forests crisis. But we also give solutions and show that actions can bring change. Greenpeace shot video footage of 18 popular
Chinese bands before the festival. Each one of them talk in the video (Chinese only) about something every
individual can do to help bring about change, ranging from not using
disposable chopsticks, changing light bulbs, riding bikes, to bringing your own
Greenpeace have a long history of working with rock musicians, such as U.2.,
REM, Eurythmics etc. Greenpeace UK has been involved in the Glastonbury
music festival for many years. Lately, Greenpeace US is working with Grammy
Award winner Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) to create a label called Greenpeace
Works, launching with the song "Go Green".
It is the first time Greenpeace has been involved in a large music event in
China. Many have asked: "So is Greenpeace going to work more with musicians
and artists to spread the message?" Yes we are, especially in China. Chinese
rock music played a large role in shaking up the mental and political space
in 1980s, and it is our hope that it can help to change hearts and minds in
a country where environmental problems are most serious. China is arguably
where the future of global environment will be shaped, and it is here that
we need people to "go green." The musicians, the music lovers, and everyone
Click here to see the slideshow in English or here to see the photos with Chinese captions.