Lam hits a green note

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 July, 2007, 12:00am

Songwriter and singer Chet Lam Yat-fung wants people to be more eco-friendly after seeing the damage caused to the spectacular snow mountain Tian Shan, in Xinjiang.

Lam (above) and Greenpeace recently went on a five-day 'Green Trip' to Urumchi, Xinjiang, where he took hundreds of pictures and selected about 30 to be exhibited at his photo exhibition, Urumchi Climate Change Journey.

Urumchi in Dzungar Mongol means 'beautiful pasture'. One of the longest mountain ranges in Asia runs through the region, including Tian Shan.

Lam and researchers travelled to the number one glacier on Tian Shan, about 4,000 metres above sea level, where he saw how global warming had caused the glacier to melt at a rapid rate - the glacier is now 11 per cent smaller than it was in the 1960s.

'Tian Shan's glacier is the closest glacier to villagers, so it's the easiest and best spot to investigate how climate change influences humans,' he said. 'Tian Shan's glacier is the source of the Yangtze River, without it there won't be water in China. The water source there is becoming less and less so it's a clear alarm that it's losing its life, urging us to realise the impact of the pollution we've made.'

During the trip, Lam saw factories that were built on snow mountains, pumping out black clouds from its chimneys. 'Some locals told us that factories aren't allowed to be built in the cities any more and that's why people are building on the mountains.'

On a previous trip, Lam had travelled with film director Edmond Pang Ho-cheung to Kenya as part of an Oxfam programme, where they visited Kenyan children who were battling drought. But Lam said the scenes he saw this time were different. 'Last time, we saw the result of drought, and this time we saw the source of drought.'

Some photos in the exhibition reveal the simple lifestyle of villagers in Urumchi. 'I talked to one of the old ladies and her biggest dream was for her two sons to go to university. As for the old lady herself, she only wished to have a river close by where she could get water. They don't have big dreams, it's all so simple,' he said.

Lam described the villagers as 'people whose mind hadn't been polluted. Water is their top priority, without water, they will have to move'.

He outlined ways to stop the situation deteriorating. 'What we can do is limit the amount of waste we produce. That's the quickest way to help. I want to send a message of environmental protection. We can all do something. You may think just switching off a light bulb won't help - but it does.'

He said while every country must develop their economies, sustainable development plans provided a long-term solution.

To celebrate Greenpeace China's 10th anniversary and promote a green summer, Pop Bites will host the broadcast of Live Earth concerts - a 24-hour, seven-continent concert with more than 100 artists and an audience of two billion - from 3pm today at their store, with host Wong Chi-chung and singers including Ivana Wong Yuen-chi and Louis Cheung Kai-chung.

Urumchi Climate Change Journey photo exhibition is open daily from 11am to 11pm at Pop Bites, 3-5 Old Bailey Street, Central, until August 31; free admission. An auction will be held on July 27 with minimum bid range from HK$500 to HK$1,000. All proceeds go to Greenpeace. Inquiries: 2525 4141.