青年说 || 张友谊：星河滚烫，你我便是光
Zhang Youyi，male, a senior student from Renmin University of China, majoring in Resources & Environmental Economics. He will continue his study in London School of Economics and Political Science.
The Origin of Interest
Zhang Youyi:I never thought that a painting competition with the theme of “Man and Nature” in middle high school would make me have an affinity with environmental protection in the unseen world. The frequent occurrence that the city was closed because of smog in high school also made me personally feel the inconvenience brought by environmental pollution to human life and the harm caused to physical and mental health. I could not help thinking: what can I do to protect the environment? After going to college, in many professional courses and related lectures, I learned about some global pandemics, such as the Minamata Disease in Japan, the London Smog Incident, the Toyama’s bone pain in Japan... The immense harm that these public disasters have caused to the entire human community is heartbreaking and unforgettable, and it evokes in me a sense of compassion and responsibility to prevent such events from happening again.
Zhang Youyi: Human beings are one with nature because we are born from nature. We should be grateful, rather than blindly take for what we want. Protecting the environment is imperative and no time to delay.Therefore, when I filled in the application form for university, I chose Resources & Environmental Economics in the faculty of Environment and Nature Resources without hesitation, and decided to pursue graduate studies in this field, hoping to make a real contribution to environmental protection in the future.
Zhang Youyi: Environmental studies and economics seem to be two contradictory subjects to others. To me, these two disciplines seem to go against each other, but in fact they complement each other. Environmental economics is a combination of the characteristics of two disciplines, solving environmental problems by means of economics. While pursuing the maximization of economic interests, we should take possible adverse effects on the environment into account and adopt corresponding strategies; while protecting the environment, we also pursue the maximization of economic benefits and determine the most appropriate scale of exploitation… Through the combination of individual micro-psychological analysis and social macro-policy regulation, making use of the changes that are closely related to daily life to influence people's social behaviors, and thus achieving the goal of environmental protection. These changes are subjective actions taken by people. It is a drastic measure instead of an ineffectual remedy, in other words, we could solve the environmental problems in essence by actions.
Zhang Youyi：In order to better obtain the theoretical knowledge, I have continuously enriched my academic experience during college years. To deal with overuse and inefficient recycling of courier boxes, my small-cost entrepreneurship team investigated and analyzed the comparative evaluation and optimization options of several courier box recycling solutions in my university in an attempt to contribute to settle resource and environmental problems in our country. In addition, in order to figure out the advantages of China’s environmental taxes introduced on January 1, 2018 compared to the previous sewage charge system, we compared the gap between the theoretical and actual collection of sewage charge and environmental taxes based on panel data and enterprise examples, finding that the fees-into-taxes is conducive to stimulating enterprises to adopt emission reduction behavior, indirectly promoting the development of environmental protection.
Environmental Protection Practices
Zhang Youyi: As an old saying goes, “no practice, no gain in one’s wit”. Therefore, I have taken part in a series of social researches and fieldwork to better apply the environmental theory into practices. Besides, I have also played a role in organizing some international conferences on environmental protection.
In 2018-2019, my entrepreneurship competition team inquired local villagers’ perceptions on paying for dealing with rural life sewage and its influencing factors in Wu Qing district of Tianjin, aiming to propose suggestions for treatment of life sewage and diversification of financing mechanism for dealing with it, which would be a part of the rural vitalization in China. In this process, I have seen not only the severe pollution in some rural areas and disturbance caused by rural domestic sewage to local residents, but also people’s consent and gratitude to government’s treatment of sewage. From the developed towns to under-developed countryside, we have clearly seen huge difference in living and environmental conditions among regions, and what’s more, people’s completely different views on environmental protection. Because of that, it is a long way to go before we manage to deal with rural life sewage.
I have met a group of friends who are fighting for environmental protection during my internship at World Resources Institution (WRI). I feel a surge of pride to be a part of the battle whose ultimate goal is to save the earth. In WRI, we have done challenging projects which have made up for gaps in environmental protection, which I suppose is why WRI exists. During that time, I have also participated in organizing some international conferences on environmental protection such as Seminar on Economic Assessment of Environment and Natural Resources and China-US High-level Think Tank Seminar on Energy and Climate Change. These experiences provide me an international view when I look into familiar environmental problems，thanks to which I am able to do my work in a more objective and unhurried way.
Zhang Youyi: I am a fervent environmentalist despite just being an undergraduate. I know it is going to be a tough task, but I feel warm and see bright future by working together with my fellows.