CAN x American Community Event: Take Action for Clean Air
Date: 23 JUNE 2021 (Wednesday)
Time: 5pm -6pm
Duration: 60 minutes
Format: Zoom live
Organised by: American Club Foundation, American Women’s Association, Clean Air Network, Hong Kong International School, The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong
About the event
While Clean Air Network launched the Citizen Clean Air Plan in April 2021 in an attempt to continue wider discussions about what to do for clean air, Beth Gardiner also published a National Geographic cover story on air pollution in the same month. The problems of air pollution transcend geographical boundaries, affecting all people of all ages, like “a pandemic in slow motion” quoted from the title of Beth’s article. As we continue to work with our local, regional, and/or national governments to bring about effective high-level actions, today’s event aims at gathering thoughts on cross-cultural experiences in multi-scalar efforts to combat air pollution.
We are honoured to have speakers equipped with rich experiences in climate actions for clean air situated in different contexts, under the common objective of securing clean air as a basic right. Our program revolves around the idea of motivation by actions and asks what has been done and more can be done for clean air.
Representative(s) of the Organizers will make an introduction on the context of the event.
To kickstart the discussions, Kristen Fu shares experiences and perspectives on how to motivate different sectors (as a mother, as a sport lover, as in university community) to do more for clean air.
With the question on how to motivate engagement and commitment in clean air actions, James Ockenden demonstrates how bite-sized tactics (‘massively small’ mentality) can be meaningful and motivate community members to be part of a bigger solution.
While air pollution knows no spatial boundaries, air pollution is as much a socio-cultural construct as it is scientific. Through her journalistic accounts, the author of Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution,Beth Gardiner demonstrates the cultural differences in ways of tackling air pollution.
Yet cultural differences should not hinder efforts in clean air actions. By refocusing the lens back onto Hong Kong – a cultural melting pot, Patrick Fung depicts a success story of how student-led initiatives can substantiate and unite youth efforts in clean air actions with the support of technological tools situated in campuses.
In an attempt to make this event an interactive one, we also invite audience to ruminate on questions about the necessary conditions for success and the potential challenges hindering our efforts, in order to inspire and motivate more effectively.
Kirsten Fu is a Hong Kong local and an active mother of one child, a marathon runner and she has her own non-profit called “Buddies for Life Ltd” through which she promotes education to children and sexual health to young girls of Cambodia and India. In Hong Kong, she has taken an active part in Clean Air Network’s “Walk for Air” initiative for promotion of walkability as a walk leader, and Hong Kong Shark Foundation’s “Say No to Shark Fin” as a full marathon runner wearing a shark’s costume. She has a huge international volunteer experience in India and Hong Kong especially with organizations like The Missionaries of Charity and World Vision.
She has done her Masters in Cardiology from CUHK and is a lecturer at School of Nursing and Health Studies, The Open University of Hong Kong.
James Ockenden is the founder and editor of Transit Jam, Hong Kong’s sustainable transport newspaper; he also hosts and produces RTHK’s Wham Bam Tram!, a weekly transport radio show, and is the creator of hit radio drama Alphard Wars, a satirical stab at Hong Kong’s transport and policing priorities.
James moved to Hong Kong from London in 2005 as Asia Editor of Risk, and has since worked independently as a writer, activist, journalist and in corporate communications. In 2016 he became a “full time dad”, and fits work around his three children Oona (5), Aoife (3) and Oscar (0).
He has an MA in Natural Sciences from Trinity College, Cambridge, and an MA in Corporate Environmental Governance from HKU, where he wrote a well-received thesis on Corporate Social Responsibilities in Space Tourism.
Beth Gardiner is an American journalist based in London. She is the author of Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution,named by the Guardian as one of 2019’s best books, and a finalist for the National Association of Science Writers’ Science in Society book award. Her work explores the ways health, equity, economic concerns and policy choices intersect in stories about the environment. Her reporting on air pollution’s dangers was the cover story of the April 2021 issue of National Geographic, and her writing has also appeared in publications including the New York Times, the Guardian, the Washington Post, HuffPost, Smithsonian and Yale Environment 360. She has discussed her work on NPR, MSNBC, the BBC and Canada’s CBC, among other broadcast outlets, and was a speaker at TEDx London at the Royal Festival Hall. Beth, a two-time fellow of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, is a former longtime Associated Press writer.
Patrick Fung is the Chief Executive Officer of the Clean Air Network, a non-profit organisation that dedicates its focus to clean up the air in Hong Kong. Since 2016, Patrick led Clean Air Network to spearhead public engagement programme to arouse conversation and actions on improving walkability, transport management and zero emission mobility in Hong Kong. Under Patrick’s leadership, Clean Air Network has developed extensive collaboration with the air science, public health, urban planning professionals, and civil, international and business community. He currently serves in the steering committee of non-profit Walk DVRC, and was appointed by the HKSAR Government as expert member of the Air Quality Objectives Review Working Group during 2016-18.