By Leila Hashemi
TIANJIN, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Government officials, organizations, schools and citizens throughout China are gathering to plant trees and educate others on the importance of the environment, for China's Tree Planting Day, which falls on March 12.
To mark the occasion, one organization is fusing music, festivals and conservation to put a groundbreaking twist on conservation in an attempt to attract a younger audience.
Partying and sustainable development do not often go hand in hand, but the event is aimed at creating something truly unique.
Last year, the Yin Yang Music Festival (YYMF) on the Great Wall of China took its first step in creating the idea of "partying with a purpose." Each patron of the annual festival who bought a ticket also purchased a piece of history in the form of a seedling to be planted in Tianjin, with 30 yuan (4.47 U.S. dollars) going toward a city forest to be created in Tianjin.
This year, the investment has paid off as the Yin Yang City Forest will break ground on March 23 in Tianjin. The organizers, Rainbow Gao and Tommy Hendriks of The Mansion Crew from Shanghai, have invited past festival-goers and volunteers to come out and contribute to the forest and park designed to draw more youth to spend time outdoors.
At the event, there will be education on the healing function of trees, DJs spinning tracks, basketball and an art exhibit put on jointly by the Great Wall Society and five art museums -- creating synergy between conservation and the arts. In addition, participants will take part in planting what will be a total of 10,000 trees on the park's grounds.
"It is important to start realizing that ecological development, nature restoration and a sustainable lifestyle is everyone's personal responsibility," said Hendrix, adding that urban cities were longing for more nature and less pollution, so they decided to do something about it.
The Yin Yang Music Festival is held in Tianjin, so organizers Hendrix and Gao decided to give back to the community that has supported them for the past five years. The creation of the forest will not only bring ecological development to the area but will also provide a space for youth to participate in sports, environmental education and music activities.
In addition to a portion of ticket sales from the YYMF, organizers teamed up with the local government, East China Normal University, China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation and MTD Landscape to make the vision a reality.
In addition to the tree-planting event, Hendrix and Gao plan to create sustainable and ecological events that not only reduce the waste footprint caused by large-scale events and festivals, but also help support local communities.
This year's Yin Yang Music Festival will be held on the Great Wall during China's Dragon Boat Festival from June 7 to 9. Just like last year, 30 yuan from each ticket sold will go toward maintaining and growing the city forest in Tianjin. Hopefully, more events and organizers can follow suit and help integrate sustainability into the community and reach younger and more active audiences.
As China becomes greener, more advanced in environmental consciousness and starts implementing green practices into events and everyday life, it is up to society to continue the government's work in their own backyard.
One festival-goer who will join the event echoed the sentiment quoting the old proverb: "A society grows great when men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in."