TIANJIN, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Government officials, organizations, schools and citizens throughout China gathered to plant trees and educate others on the importance of the environment on China's Tree Planting Day, which fell on March 12.
To mark the occasion, one organization is fusing music, festivals and sustainability 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 Tommy Hendriks and Rainbow Gao of The Mansion Shanghai, a community hub where creatives can network, learn to DJ and set up platforms for upcoming events and collaborations, aim to create something truly unique.
Last year, a portion of ticket sales from the Yin Yang Music Festival (YYMF), which takes place annually on the Great Wall of China and is also organized by Hendriks and Gao, was used in realizing their goal of "partying with a purpose." Of each ticket purchased, 30 yuan (4.47 U.S. dollars) went toward a piece of history in the form of a seedling to be planted in a city forest the organizers are creating in Tianjin.
This year, the investment has paid off as the Tianjin City Forest will break ground on March 23 at Tianjin YanTuo Park. Hendriks and Gao 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.
The event will kick off with a welcome speech from Hendriks and Gao. After the introduction, participants will take part in planting what will be a total of 10,000 trees on the park's grounds. Planting leaders will take groups of 20 to planting areas to teach attendees how to plant the trees and educate them on the tree's healing functions. After the planting is complete, there will be DJs spinning tracks, basketball, skating and an art exhibit put on jointly by the Great Wall Society and five art museums -- creating synergy between conservation and the arts.
"It is important to start realizing that ecological development, nature restoration and a sustainable lifestyle is everyone's personal responsibility," said Hendriks, 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 on the Huangyaguan section of the Great Wall in Tianjin, so organizers Hendriks 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.
Hendriks and Gao also plan to create more 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 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.
In addition to creating a sustainable ecological environment, Hendriks and Gao also use the festival to support the local Chinese music scene, giving artists the ability to share their music with a wide range of people in an international and inclusive environment.
The festival is the only one of its kind to allow patrons to "live" on the Great Wall for three days.
To show further support to the community where the festival is held, locals are given free access to the festival as well as permission to sell food and drinks to festival-goers. Ticket prices are kept low and patrons are allowed to bring their own food and drinks -- a drive to further incorporate community and allow people from all walks of life to join in on the festivities. This year, sustainability will also be stepped up and efforts improved to create an environment of fun and consciousness of nature's beauty which must be preserved.
The organizers agree that in China's push for environmental protection, more events and organizers should follow suit and help integrate sustainability into the community and reach younger and more active audiences.
China has been cited by NASA as one of the two top contributors to the greening of the Earth, stating that China's efforts have created a greener Earth than that of 20 years ago.
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."