Keep Economic Development And Environment Protection On The Track To Fulfill Ecological Concerns

Mr Ou Chin-der, former deputy mayor of Taipei city, was invited by TESA to share his experiences and thoughts about economic development and ecological concerns on 19 March 2017 at the annual assembly of TESA. photo by Chiu Kuo-rong

Taiwan Church News
3395 Edition
20 – 26 March, 2017
Church Ministry

Keep Economic Development And Environment Protection On The Track To Fulfill Ecological Concerns

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong

In the afternoon on March 19, Mr Ou Chin-der, former deputy mayor of Taipei city and a Catholics, was invited by Taiwan Ecological Stewardship Association(TESA) to share his experiences and thoughts in a lecture, entitled “Care our land and think about Taiwan’s future”, on how to keep economic development and environmental protection on the track at the conference room of the office of PCT General Assembly.

Trained as a civil engineer, Mr Ou frankly admitted that he was quite ignorant about any ecological knowledge when he was first recruited to serve in Taipei city government. It was his frequent contacts, during his office as deputy mayor, with some environmental groups and urgent ecological appeals raised by the protesting civic groups that he started to think how to proceed civil engineering project without changing the ecological environment.

From a similar ecological point of view, via inventing new policies of “No landing of garbage” and “Garbage tax per plastic bag”, Mr Ou successfully reduced daily garbage output per person in Taipei city from 1.42 kilograms in 1999 to 0.882 kilogram in 2015. In the meantime, he also effectively saved about 25% of water supply to Taipei city from
330 tons of water per day in 1999 to 240 tons per day after several years later.

Mr Ou thought the elevated road system of Chiang Wei-shuei Memorial Freeway across Shihting township was the best model that a development-led civil engineering can be kept in a great harmony with the ecological environment. This unusual story convinced Mr Ou that education is absolutely necessary for changing our stereotyped knowledge and confused thoughts.

In the same logic, based on several grim facts: (1) green energy supply in Taiwan is only 1% less (2) the electricity demand of Taiwan’s economical growth is far beyond what green energy can supply, Mr Ou questioned the priority of current green energy policy upheld by Tsai administration. Further, questions like: whether current nuclear power plants supplying 20% of Taiwan electricity should be all halted? how to deal with their nuclear wastes?
whether the growth of Taiwan economics will be stopped due to the shortage of the electricity? what kinds of industry should be banned from Taiwan? and etc, they are serious questions deserving a deep thought by Taiwan’s policy makers, Mr Ou urged.

“Economics is about development rather than growth”, responded by Ms Chen Tze-mei, general secretary of TESA, adding that a more fundamental problem confronting human species today is that the economic pursuit of profits within the global capitalism is totally beyond our rational control!

As PCT will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the “Environmental Sunday” in 2017, a commemorative pamphlet consisting of a chronicle of major events on ecological concern in Taiwan, critical articles on environmental protection, and an ecological reading of the Holy Bible will be jointly published by TESA and PCT. Via this joint venture, TESA and PCT will also hold a series of event entitled as “A dialogue between the people and the land” to help the church’s ministry on ecological concern.

From July 2017, TESA, PCT and JPIC-AMRS Taiwan(Justice, Peace, Integration of Creation Desk – Association of Religious Major Superiors in Taiwan) will held 12 ecological seminars across Taiwan to wake up the ecological consciousness of the public.

Translated by Peter Wolfe