[Profile] Gong Xiaosen, President of the Eco-Environmental Protection Youth Volunteer Association in Shenzhen Nanshan District, Lecturer of Shenzhen Youth Lecturer Group, Director of Shenzhen's first river protection and water control "Shahe-Shanghu river U Station". She has led an excellent team for environmental education for youth, micro-course of garbage sorting and many other works regarding public welfare. Under her leadership, " Hexiaoer", one of the volunteering programs of U station, have been involved in river protection services every month, from less than 200 people in the beginning to tens of thousands today. Since 2006, she has volunteered for more than 5,000 hours in total. She has been awarded the title of the Most Beautiful Volunteer in Nanshan District, Top Ten Volunteer River Guard of Shenzhen, and Representative Environmentalist of Peng City.
Host: Hello everyone, welcome to the largescale online interview program "Popular Eco-People", I am the host, Guo Yi. Today our guest is Ms. Gong Xiaosen, who has just been awarded the title of Representative Environmentalist of Peng city this year. Let's give applause for Ms.Gong!
Gong Xiaosen: Hello, everyone.
Host: First of all, congratulations on your winning the title of Representative Environmentalist of Peng city. We know that Shenzhen has made great efforts to clean up sewage and improve the ecological environment quality in recent years, and achieved remarkable results. As a "Hexiaoer", you are playing a very important role in the environment protection process. Could you introduce your journey as a "Hexiaoer"? Any stories to share with us?
Gong Xiaosen: Feeling much honored to win the title. It means that a heavy burden has been placed on my shoulder. I will keep going on the road of ecological and environmental protection. In fact, at the beginning of the guarding of the Dasha River, not many people were involved, as the remote location made it difficult to get around. Sometimes, I have to come to U station after work to guard until 9 or10 pm, because U Station has a daily water quality test program. I have been waiting for like-minded people on the road of public welfare. I even had the idea of giving up halfway. However, under the guidance of my managers, I went through the difficult period of fighting against myself, so that I could keep the passion for life no matter when. Fortunately, I have already found like-minded people and also formed the backbone of the team. Everyone is making efforts to the volunteer services. We also undertake a lot of projects, including the youth environmental education base, the environmental sanitation home, the garbage classification environmental ecological park reception in Nanshan District, and some environmental collaborations with enterprises. The practice tracks with the youth community undergo every summer. Last summer holiday, nearly 8,000 people participated in the student community practice.
Host: An increasing number of people have been joining us. Initially, our members are less than two hundred, now, thousands of people are involved. Besides, it has attracted lots of citizens being willing to participate in the river protection. What do you think about the reason of this new trend?
Gong Xiaosen: As far as I am concerned, the main reason could be that our special U station has fully played its role as a platform for volunteering services. We have implemented strict regulations for its operation and attach great importance to the specific techniques that volunteers need to acquire. Every day we share knowledge and new policies to the online groups to foster a learning-oriented station. Volunteers are required to be warm-hearted, enthusiastic and energetic. Besides, they need to possess enough leaderships skills. Only when every volunteer is up to those standards, the method of adding other special activities to attract more people is accessible. So, it is necessary for volunteers to know more about current issues and policies regarding environmental protection through reading relevant books and newspapers as much as possible. The program “Gratitude Education” has become the typical course in our station since last year, attracting a number of parents participating in our “Water Knowledge” class. What’s more, we will play some videos about rubbish classification to help children better understand it. Some high school students learned it through playing a game named “Werewolves Killing”, which made them feel quite pleasant for spending time here.
Host: We know that you have taken the responsibility for the operation of the first special U station for protecting rivers in Shenzhen since 2007. Could you share something about your work?
Gong Xiaosen: The service station is located at the estuary of the Dasha River in Shenzhen, the starting point of the Dasha River Ecological Corridor, and the junction of Shenzhen Bay Park and the Dasha River Ecological Corridor (located in the fortress). It is the first U station with water conservation features in Shenzhen. It integrates multiple functions such as water control publicity, water quality monitoring, youth education, and voluntary services. It is an important camp for water protection and water control volunteers.
To improve the awareness of environmental protection, we have designed a series of courses aiming at teenagers to teach them manual painting and how to turn “waste” into wealth. Besides, we also provide various services: water quality monitoring, rivers cruising and other activities like books sharing and aquarium conserving. Convenience services like both hot and cold-water offerings, tea-drinking, mobile phone charging, bike wheels inflating, and even book circulation are available. In addition, there are some special projects: environmental protection guards, environmental protection paintings, turning waste into treasure, environmental reading sharing, drifting water protection station, youth environmental protection education base, youth rights protection post, gratitude education class, law popularization, etc. We also have the unique charm of innovation in the country: the environmental protection project for young students and the holiday model of water conservation.
Host: It’s not easy to set up a backbone team and attract more people to participate in environmental activities in less than three years. How did you quickly set up the backbone team?
Gong Xiaosen: Unlike an enterprise, the volunteer backbone team is a flexible group with mandatory and flexible requirements. Volunteering requires everyone to encourage and support each other to make progress. There are also many difficulties in forming this backbone team. It is necessary to find like-minded people. Our backbone is a group of people with passion.
Host: Has your work changed during the epidemic? Does it have any impact on river protection activities?
Gong Xiaosen: During the epidemic, U stations remain closed. Our team come to U station for disinfection from time to time, ready to open the station at any time. We publicize methods of epidemic prevention and forward official information among junior and high school students. After the re-opening in May, the number of people participating in the protection of the river has been relatively reduced.
We consider accepting group appointments, starting innovative projects to increase the participation rate of young people. Many members use recycled waste to make handmade works to attract young people to participate in environmental protection. Paying attention to social issues, actively participating, and starting from a young age will help to form environmental protection habits.
Host：Besides the work of U station, you also serve as the president of Ecological Environment Protection Youth Volunteer Association of Nanshan District inShenzhen, and win the title of "the most beautiful volunteer in Nanshan District" and "top ten volunteer river chief of Shenzhen City". Since 2006, you have participated in volunteer service for more than 4,000 hours. What supports you to fight in the front line of environmental protection all the time?
Gong Xiaosen: In fact, I have been involved in volunteer service for a long time, so I unconsciously developed the habit of looking for volunteer service projects. As long as I find a certain social problem, I will design solutions specifically and organize volunteers to participate. As long as I have time, I will participate. It is my parents and my friends who really support me. In the volunteer service team, there are volunteers who care about me like family. Here, we encourage each other and finds our own shining points.
Host：As an environmentalist for many years, do you have any vision for environmental protection? Do you have any expectations for the future?
Gong Xiaosen: Just like the lyric sings, "Everyone sacrifices a little love, the world will become a beautiful place", ecological environment protection requires everyone to be a drop of water in the sea, the gather into the beautiful blue ocean. I hope everyone is aware of environmental protection and form good habits for it.
Host: The dream of Popular Ecology has always been to share the stories or experience of the worldwide environmentalists with more people, so as to promote the formation of a better ecological civilization. Do you have any wishes for Popular Ecology?
Gong Xiaosen: In fact, I’m supposed to learn from other professionals, and spread my knowledge of ecological environmental protection to more people. Each of us is a role in the environmental protection story. Participate in environmental protection and ecological civilization with Popular Ecology, to be the best of you as an environmental protection figure.
Host: Let's thank President Zhang again with warm applause for his wonderful sharing. I am Guo yi, the host of Popular Eco-People. That is all for today. See you next time.