Report from China: Op-Ed by Robert U. Ayres
In December I travelled to the city of Kunming, in Yunnan province, China. The occasion of the trip was to attend a conference on planning and give a talk on economics at that conference. The host was the newly appointed provincial Governor, who is also the Communist Party Chairman for Yunnan. The organizer was the former chief planner for Singapore, and the attendees were academics and civil servants in the urban planning departments from all of the major cities of organizer was the former chief planner for Singapore, and the Yunnan province. I was invited on short notice (only two weeks) and I was asked to provide a copy of my talk in advance, without much detailed information about the actual situation. What I did know about China was more applicable to Beijing and Shanghai than to Kunming. So, I had to “punt”, as they say.
This little picture gives us a few ideas about cars in China today. Important if we bear in mind that today is the first day of the future.
China, we have long said, is the only elephant in the world of nations who can turn on a dime. Here’s one example.
EPI Bicycle Share Fact Sheet
The prevalence of bicycles in a community is an indicator of our ability to provide affordable transportation, lower traffic congestion, reduce air pollution, increase mobility, and provide exercise to the world’s growing population. Bike-sharing programs are one way to get cycles to the masses.
What is our goal in the sustainability wars? If it is to feel noble because we are doing the “right thing” and to build our programs and plans of attack on that (call it “moral suasion”), we run the risk of ending up a proud soldier lying dead on the field of action with the last words from our mouths, that of Gott mit uns (god is on our side). Those of us who feel deeply enough about these issues to wish to act effectively have to put our pious thoughts and personal preferences aside and gear up 100% for a single goal — to win! Sun Tsu had a few thoughts on that in The Practical Art of War.
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
Public Bicycle Share (PBS) Systems are growing in popularity and spreading across many cities and countries. In Asia, the number of PBS’ has grown close to a 100 from just one in 2007 and Asia also boasts of the largest system with about 90,000 cycles in Wuhan, China. Europe too saw the number of systems grow six fold in just six years.
Clean Air Asia has been working to raise the profile of Non Motorized Transport (NMT) and now with the University of Queensland is conducting this survey to understand the perception on PBS, especially in Asian cities. We request you to answer the questions to gives us better insights on PBS.