After living in Hong Kong for several years, it was a depressing daily occurrence to read about the environmental fallout from China’s huge economic growth. I’m aware that the country has moved forward with environmentally friendly alternative energy programs but admittedly haven’t delved into the details of the country’s energy plan. Photographer Toby Smith recently spent two months in China producing his latest project China’s New Energy Pioneers and will present an enlightening picture of the progress thus far.
Across 11 provinces, his work took him to coal mines, wind farms and hydro-electric plants as he captured the landscapes and people implementing the Communist Party’s latest Five Year Plan. Announced in March 2011, the new Plan is significant in its attempts to address escalating energy and environmental problems. A cap on coal dependency, ambitious targets for non-fossil fuel energy sources and a drive towards more renewable sources of energy reflect the Communist Party’s intentions to aim for a cleaner, greener kind of growth. With new power stations connecting to the grid in the People’s Republic of China at a rate of one per day, how China chooses to fuel its booming economy is one of the most important questions for the world of today, and of the future. The talk will be moderated by Jim Footner of Greenpeace.