Work is a passion, not a chore, for Greenpeace energy activist

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 31 October, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 31 October, 2004, 12:00am

From University of Hong Kong student union president to full-time Greenpeace campaigner, Gloria Chang Wan-ki is applying to her career exactly what she learned during her school days.

Describing herself as an idealist, the 25-year-old said she did not treat her present job as a normal one, but rather as something she really wanted to do.

'The work is so demanding, I just can't treat it as a job,' she said.

During her days as student union president in 2000, Ms Chang made a name for herself when her union demanded the resignation of then HKU vice-chancellor Cheng Yiu-chung during the saga over the gagging of pollster Robert Chung Ting-yiu. Professor Cheng later resigned.

Ms Chang is still active in public fights. But now her focus is on demanding that the government and power companies take more measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

She is busy lobbying lawmakers to create a new Legislative Council panel to review the renewal of contracts between the two power companies and the government.

As a climate and energy activist, Ms Chang is responsible for planning and implementing campaigns.

A politics major, she graduated from HKU with first-class honours in social science. She then headed overseas to pursue a master's degree in development studies at the London School of Economics. During her master's studies she met people from around the world and was impressed by their passion for civil action.

Angling towards a career with non-governmental organisations, she then chose a job as secretary in Hong Kong's newly established Democratic Development Network. Six months later, she took up the post of Greenpeace campaigner because the group 'was on the right track'. She has been in her current position for more than a year.

Perhaps surprisingly, Ms Chang said she had no plans to enter the political arena, and was content with her job.

She said students today were not as passionate about civil action as they used to be.

'I understand finding a job is their main concern.

'But I think they should not be too short-sighted. University is supposed to be a place to develop an analytical mind and independent thinking,' she said.

'Looking back, the way I handled students' activities was not good enough, and had room for improvement.

'But the experience was certainly rewarding. I also met friends with similar beliefs at that time. I am still honing my skills.'