Event RecapBack
‘Zero Carbon Inno-Day: Sustainable Living 2016’

In the wake of the Paris Agreement signed by 195 countries at the end of last year, various European countries have announced plans for a new ‘zero-carbon’ era. For example, Sweden has just announced its plan to go ‘carbon-neutral’ by 2045, and Britain intends to enshrine its zero-carbon emission target in the law. While the Hong Kong government has not shown any plans yet, organizations from the civil society have taken a proactive role on this issue.  ‘Zero Carbon Inno-Day: Sustainable Living 2016’ was a full-day event held on 9 April and jointly organized by JC COIL and ‘Project Flame’ of the City University of Hong Kong. Modelling on the UN Climate Summit, a wide range of activities including seminars, workshops, interactive games and exhibitions were arranged to encourage greater innovation from Hong Kong citizens when they tackle the challenges of climate change.

During the opening ceremony, Mr Lee Chi Ming, representative of JC COIL and Board Chairman of CarbonCare InnoLab (CCIL), gave a brief review on the Hong Kong NGO and social business delegation led by CCIL to the UN Climate Change Summit held in Paris (known as COP21) last December. The delegates witnessed the birth of the historic Paris Agreement. The opening ceremony was also officiated by Mr Sunny Lee Wai-kwong, Vice-President (Administration) of the City University of Hong Kong. In his speech, Mr Lee said the City University has continually promoted sustainable development and low-carbon living to the education sector and the society at large. City U has taken the lead in low-carbon building design and campus operation. It was also the first local university to implement food waste management by recycling canteen food waste into fish feed. Mr Lee looked forward to seeing everyone working together to make ‘Zero-carbon Hong Kong’ possible.   

In his opening talk, Ir Albert Lai, Advisor to CarbonCare InnoLab, singled out three special places to exemplify the serious impacts of climate change: war-torn Syria; the fragile Marshall Islands and Paris, the host city of COP21. All cases have shown how problems brought by climate change were closely linked to one another, bringing great threats to global stability. Ir Lai urged all countries to grasp the opportunity brought by COP21 and take bold actions to create a ‘zero-carbon economy’. He concluded the talk with a passionate poem written by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, teacher and environmental activist on the Marshall Islands.   

Various seminars were also held that day, during which speakers from the business sector, social enterprises, academic institutions and civil society groups were invited to explore different related topics. 

In the seminar “Hot and Dirty – Urban Air Quality under Climate Change”, Prof Steve Yim Hung Lam from the Department of Geography and Resource Management, CUHK, pointed out that climatic phenomena induced by climate change could intensify the air pollution problem in Hong Kong. He further explained ways to measure air pollution in layman terms. Meanwhile, Mr Loong Tsz-wai, Community Manager of Clean Air Network, explained how Hong Kong’s worsening air pollution problem was closely related to its road transport system and the urban heat-island effect. He also introduced the ‘Des Voeux Road Central Initiative’, an action plan for better air quality in the Central District created by Clean Air Network and other civil society organizations.

On the other hand, the Hysan Development Co Ltd told the audience how property developers could play a part in bettering the environment by incorporating green elements into their building designs. Urban Spring highlighted its mission to turn Hong Kong into a plastic bottle-free city through the installation of high-quality water dispensers and related facilities. To make our community more sustainable, representatives of +Furniture introduced the interesting idea of creating ‘portable furniture pieces for carrying around the city’. Green Monday taught everyone how to fight global warming with knife and fork, by making vegetarian diet a regular dining habit. The joy and pain of starting a sustainability business was shared by representatives from two social enterprise start-ups, ‘Second Hand Box’ from Hong Kong and Shenzhen Social Organization Headquarters (Futian District) from Mainland China.  

Certainly, there were other activities to get everyone moving! Named ‘If I were Obama’, the Climate Negotiations Games put participants in the shoes of government heads and senior officials to experience the power politics during the climate negotiation process with other country delegates. In the workshop “DIY MicroForests”, lady members from social enterprise ‘MicroForests’ taught participants to create their own unique micro-forest decorations. Two energy-producing bikes named ‘The Inspiration’ and ‘Loneliness Absolutely Forever II’ were displayed to showcase how bicycles and display art can be a perfect match. Interested visitors were able to ‘cycle’ their own moments of romance. “The Myth of Milk” was another workshop that let everyone explore the links between the environment, humans and animals from different perspectives. “Green Lifestyle with Bricolage” was a workshop to test the design ingenuity of participants in turning idle materials into useful items. The City U solar car team "Morgen City" explained how they designed and built a solar car, demonstrating the creativity and potentials of young people these days. The Eco Cube system developed by E-farm was also set up in the demonstration area to show how worms, fish and vegetables could thrive in a symbiotic environment, while food waste recycling was the key word. Last but not least, three InnoTeams from JC COIL, namely, the City Bike team, Farmunion City and My Trees, My City, also set up their own booth to exchange views with the public.

The full-day event attracted around 200 participants. To make our slogan ‘Zero-Carbon, Count Me In’ a reality in the near future, we hope everyone who has joined this event can take the message home and get involved in the ‘Zero-Carbon Revolution’.