Family Lives Environmentally Friendly Life, Keeps Hometown 'Green'

 October 30, 2023

Family Lives Environmentally Friendly Life, Keeps Hometown 'Green'

Liang Zihong, a retired teacher from Gaocang Middle School, lives with his family in Paishanying, a village in Hongta District, in Yuxi, a city in southwest China's Yunnan Province. Liang's family adheres to a "green" (environmentally friendly) lifestyle. Each family member takes actions to help protect the blue sky, clear water, clean soil and green mountains in their hometown.

Thrifty Life

Liang has long impressed his colleagues and students with his lifestyle choices, including his decision to wear simple and plain clothes, such as a washed-out T-shirt, grey trousers, and a pair of nearly worn sneakers. 

During the three decades he taught school, Liang rode his bicycle — 20 kilometers every day — to and from work. "Why don't you drive a car?" Someone once asked Liang. It was obviously more convenient to travel by car. With a smile, Liang answered, "It's energy efficient and environmentally friendly to ride a bike. I can exercise as well. That's good!" 

Family Lives Environmentally Friendly Life, Keeps Hometown 'Green'

Liang's family lives a thrifty and low-carbon lifestyle. They recycle and try to turn waste into usable materials. For example, before they wash vegetables in clear water, they usually remove wilted leaves and soak the vegetables in water they once used to wash rice. Then, they will keep the water for washing vegetables, and they will use the water to clean the hearth and/or mop the floor. They do their best to make full use of every drop of water. 

Liang always keeps in mind the importance of living a "green" (environmentally friendly) lifestyle. He and his family began sorting garbage in 1996. They collect fruit peelings and other food waste, which they make into organic fertilizer, which they use to grow flowers and other plants. They also collect waste cardboard, metals and plastics, which they discard at a local waste-recycling station. Every member of Liang's family believes sorting garbage is not a responsibility to be shouldered solely by the government; rather, they believe each individual shoulders the responsibility for sorting garbage.

Family Lives Environmentally Friendly Life, Keeps Hometown 'Green'

Teaching Importance of 'Green'

In their spare time, the family likes to discuss various topics related to environmental protection. When his daughter, Liang Ya, was a little girl, Liang Zihong and his wife, Liu Yuping, told stories that raised Liang Ya's awareness of environmental protection. The family has maintained many environmentally friendly habits, such as reusing water, carrying their own bags when they go shopping, and avoiding using disposable tableware. 

Liang Zihong and Liu have educated their daughter that she should sort garbage, maintain a healthy diet, help protect animals and plants, and help prevent water pollution. Liang Ya has learned about environmental protection since she was a young child. She has set a good example for her friends, schoolmates and colleagues to live a "green" lifestyle. 

Family Lives Environmentally Friendly Life, Keeps Hometown 'Green'

Keeping Hometown Beautiful

One day, during Spring Festival in 2002, while he was taking a walk, Liang Zihong noticed garbage had been thrown into the river, and on the riverbank, near Fenghuang (Phoenix) Reservoir, in his hometown. "The river, called 'Miluo,' is very important to the reservoir. It is like the 'mother river' of our village. Why was it severely polluted?" Liang Zihong was shocked, and he ran home to tell his wife what he had seen. 

The couple immediately made a decision: They went to a market to buy some tools, which they used to pick up the garbage along the river. Since then, they have volunteered hours of their time, after work and/or on weekends, to pick up garbage near the reservoir. They have taken their daughter to help with the work. The three placed the garbage in bags, and then deposited the refuse.

For the past 20-plus years, the family has selflessly collected garbage near the reservoir; as a result of their efforts, the reservoir's water has become much clearer. 

Family Lives Environmentally Friendly Life, Keeps Hometown 'Green'

In addition to picking up garbage near the reservoir, Liu has worked with environmental-protection volunteers in Yuxi. The volunteers pick up garbage — including fast-food packages, cigarette butts, paper and wads of gum — thrown randomly on the streets. Every time Liu returns home after working with the volunteers, she shares her experiences with her family. She educates her daughter, and other similarly aged children, about protecting the environment. "If we do not throw garbage on the ground, we will make our hometown a more beautiful village," Liu tells the children. 

Influenced by Liang Zihong's family, more and more residents of their hometown have volunteered to help protect Miluo River and Phoenix Reservoir. Nowadays, Paishanying is an attractive village — with green mountains, clear water, fragrant flowers and happy residents. The Liangs believe the concept of living a "green" lifestyle will take root in the hearts of more and more people, and the virtue of environmental protection will be inherited by families, from generation to generation. 

Liang Zihong's family was selected a National Most Beautiful Family in May. 


Photos Supplied by Interviewees

(Women of China English Monthly August 2023 issue)


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