GCB’s work included a variety of climate change programs in Gansu Province:
· Citizen education program – encourage Green Commuting and Low Carbon Life;
· Rural project in Huining arid area – helping farmers to plant drought and salt endurable crops and establishing a farmer cooperative;
· Grassland conservation project in Maqu – facilitating ranchers to establish a Community Natural Resource Management Committee and producing ecologically-friendly animal husbandry products;
· Earthquake Reconstruction Project in Longnan area – promoting energy efficient buildings to reduce consumption of forestry resource;
· Environmental monitoring project – supervising enterprises to take their environmental responsibilities;
· Consulting projects – giving independent suggestions on CDM projects as a Gold Standard Supporter.
These projects raised public awareness on climate change, encouraged green-life style, and contributed to local economy and environment in combating climate change and improving living standard. In the following sections of the report, we will discuss the implementation and outcomes of these projects.
1 Mediating Climate Change Impact
1.1 Promoting Green Commuting and Low-Carbon Life
Since 2007, GCB has participated the National Green Commuting Network. GCB encouraged Lanzhou citizens to choose green transportation. GCB also educated public in saving natural resource, consuming less, reusing and recycling. In the past three years, there was a change on citizen’s awareness and behaviors. Many people began to aceept the idea of Low-Carbon Life. GCB connected volunteers with real projects, so participants could have an active experience in Green Commuting and environmentally-friendly behaviors.
On June 17, 2011, GCB, Gansu Guangdian Newspaper Media Co., Ltd. and Haihang Lanzhou Airport Company co-hosted an environmental event in Lanzhou Zhongchuan Airport Station Building, “Participating in Green Commuting & Living Low-Carbon-Life”. GCB sent out Low-Carbon brochures; showed environmental videos; and introduced Carbon Calculator to participants. This environmental education event helped passengers to understand how their travel behaviors would affect the environment and what they could do to reduce the negative effect. Seventy participants attended this event.
From September to November 2011, CGB purchased and installed fifteen bicycles in Northwestern Normal University. Students and faculty could rent them for free. This program was a good demonstration for the public; it also attracted more people to get involved. Statistic showed 540 students and faculty participated.
GCB reached out to the communities. From November 2010 to April 2011, GCB launched Low-Carbon-Life and community waste management projects in Mingrenhuayuan and Tianqingjiayuan community. Activities included waste reusing, recycling, and trading old things. GCB donated prizes to encourage participation. More than 400 Low-Carbon-Life handbooks were distributed to community members. These programs were loved by community members.
1.2 Promoting energy efficient buildings and community sustainability
Chayuan Village is located in downstream of Bailongjiang River. It is affiliated to Wenxian County, Longnan City, Gansu Province. Chayuan Village is blessed by beautiful natural environment, and habited by many wild animals. It is in the laboratory zone of Baishuijiang National Nature Reserve. In the 5.12 Big Earthquake, Chayuan Village was badly damaged. GCB helped villagers to rebuild their homes from the ruin. Programs included straw-bale buildings, energy-efficient stoves, organic tea plantation and trash tanks. These programs helped the reduction of CO2 emission, and contributed to a more sustainable community.
Straw-bale construction is a building method that uses bales of straw (wheat, rice or other straw) as structural element and have a structural frame of light-gauge steel. Advantages of straw-bale construction over conventional brick construction include high isolation value and low cost. Compared to a brick or a concrete building, a straw-bale building is six times higher in isolation value, which makes it very energy efficient. During winter, a straw-bale construction saves 50% to 90% of heating fuel, depending on different temperatures. A local family can save 1.5 tons of coal in winter. Straw-bale buildings also avoid air pollution (CO2, SO2, and CO) that is produced in making bricks.
GCB has gained villagers’ confidence on straw-bale constructions. The village has built four straw-bale buildings, one urine-directing toilet and a straw-bale elementary school building The advantages of straw-bale constructions include earthquake resistance, good isolation, energy efficiency and low cost. Urine-directing toilet can control and reduce fly and mosquito populations. By directing and storing urine, human excrement won’t go directly to rivers, and stored urine can be used to fertile the soil. Consequently, farmers use less chemical fertilizer in their field. The Chuanyuan Elementary School made children’s education much easier. The school building is also served as a good example of straw-bale construction.
The local conventional stove has no chimney but a big chamber. Smoke can cause many health problems. Plus, the big chamber consumes a lot of wood. GCB introduced energy-efficient stoves to solve the problems. With the new stove, villagers have reduced 60% wood consumption on fuel, which is a positive change on local forest and CO2 emission.
GCB promoted organic tea production in Chayuan. A series of trainings were delivered regarding organic farming skills and marketing skills. Farmers supported this program because they earned more money from organic tea. In addition, the environment became healthier for less chemical has been used. Now, ten families are engaging in organic tea production, and the plantation covers 70 mu (11.5 acre). Organic tea plantation at least saves 140 bags of chemical fertilizer and 80 bottles of chemical pesticide annually.
Before the waste management project, trash was a nuisance to health and environment in Chayuan, especially the Masangbashe sub-village, which is the closest to the village road and has the worst trash problems. More than 100 villagers produced a lot of trash everyday, which caused environmental and hygiene problems. GCB helped to reach an agreement among the villagers that everyone should contribute to the construction of village trash tanks; purchase and enstallment of trash bins in public places; improvement of community environment; improvement of environmental awareness; and reduction of hazardous waste. Nine trash tanks, and eighty-eight trash bins had been built.
1.3 Monitoring pollutant enterprises and promoting environmental policy
GCB’s responsibility includes monitoring enterprises to take their environmental responsibilities. GCB has explored a strategy to do the job, which involves collecting and publishing environmental news, drawing Water Pollution Maps, promoting Clean Production and Green Choice, and conducting environmental check on listed enterprises. GCB’s goal is to protect water resource, solve the Yellow River water pollution and environmental problems in affected communities.
1.4 Team building and participating CDM
In October, 2009, GCB has joined and become a Supporter of Gold Standard. The goal of a Supporter is to provide the clients with independent and professional consulting services GCB staff engaged themselves in learning Gold Standard and CDM knowledge. They attended many Gold Standard workshops to improve knowledge and interact with a wider community.
GCB has facilitated rural energy projects in applying for carbon fund. At the same time, GCB attended small-scale hydropower public hearings. For example, GCB participated in the beneficiary meeting by Lixi (Grade 4, 1.6MW), Linze Lixi (Grade 5, 1.26MW) and Zhangyelinzenantaizi small-scale hadropower (Grade3, 2.2MW) projects. Participants included county hydrology, county environmental protection, county electricity, hydropower staff and community members. Projects were assessed and graded via 12 indicators to show their sustainability in environmental, social and technological & economical aspects. GCB introduced Gold Standard, and gave suggestions on sustainability of related projects. GCB staff also attended Gold Standard Institution Conference with scholars and practitioners from this field. Participants discussed the situation of Carbon Fund projects in China, and GHG Protocol.
GCB ensured the authenticity and high quality of the CDM Projects, so CO2 reduction will be achieved
2 Adaptation to climate change
2.1 Promoting organic agriculture and building up partnership among farmers
Huining County (in Gansu Province)is located in Longzhong Loess Plateau. The climate is dry with low precipitation; and the soil is very poor because of salinization. Local communities are struggling with a hard life. The climate change in recent years makes the situation worse. GCB tried to explore alternative livelihoods to improve local people’s living condition and mediate the impact caused by climate change. Since 2008, GCB has introduced drought and salt endurable crop species, sunflower seed, to local farms, and helped farmers to form specialized cooperatives.
A series programs included enriching local culture life and delivering sunflower planting trainings. Due to these work, the community became stronger, which laid the foundation of sustainable development. GCB won the villagers’ trust.
Member trainings included organization management, law and policy study, and marketing skills. Members gained basic market skills, such as product brand and promotion in the open market. GCB donated books, printers and other equipments to build a community library, which provides community members with learning opportunities
GCB helped the cooperative to brand their agriculture products including: sunflower seeds, watermelon, barley and maize. Training included product package, advertisement and promotion. GCB built the network between the cooperative and companies. Farmers could sell their products directly to the companies thus to reduce the cost by middleman. An advertizing campaign was launched to promote the market; among many Medias, there were Gansu Economy Daily, Guangming Daily, and Lanzhou Evening News.
GCB emphasized public participation, especially women’s participation. Women’s projects included embroidery competition and family relationship building. These projects were loved by community members. The community has built more resilience in the challenge of globalization and climate change.
Since 2010, GCB helped the cooperative to buy sunflower seeds in big bulks in order to reduce cost. Up to now, the famers saved 40,000 Yuan on seeds.
2.2 Promoting rancher cooperative to protect “Kidney of the Yellow River” Wetland
Quma County is called “Kidney of the Yellow River” because its vast wetland. However, in recent years, because of mutual effects of climate change and overgrazing, more than 90% of 1288 mu (2.1 million acre) of ranch suffered land degradation in various degrees. Rodent problem is getting worse year by year. Grassland degradation and desertification is menacing ecological security in the Yellow River catchment.
GCB helped local community to establish a Natural Resource Management Committee (the Committee). In order to remediate grassland degradation, ranchers worked together in producing ecologically friendly animal husbandry products. Traditional environmental values are combined with updated environmental technologies in solving grassland degradation problems.
In 2011, GCB connected local community with government, institutions, enterprises and other NGOs in Quma conservation project. Supported by Professor Du Guozhen and his graduate students from Lanzhou University, GCB staff interviewed communities in two cities and seven townships to identify the environmental problems. Finally, the working team chose Dao’erjia 5 sub-village as project area
GCB worked with local elementary schools. Two environmental education programs were implemented in Quma First Tibetan Elementary School and Awancang Elementary School. Future plans included the write and edit of a place-based education textbook that is written in Tibetan and Chinese language and building an environmental education platform for local youth. GCB will closely work with local educational administrative and schoolteachers in this plan.