China, Taiwan: Shu Ying Lin

At over 50, I cannot be so naive as to believe that there can be peace on earth. Many values of today’s society are contradictory to the principles of peace. Let there be more chances to learn.

— Shu Ying Lin

Lin Shu Ying (54), originally a nurse, became a voluntary environmental worker for the Homemakers Union and Foundation in 1989, promoting recycling and the protection of the environment. In 1998 she joined the Wenshan Community College. In 2000, she promoted the protection of Ching-mei river through community education. Together with 17 community colleges, she formed the Alliance for the Protection of the Tamshui river.

In October 2000, the Xangsane typhoon hit Taipei; the Ching-mei river rose to alarming levels. Concerned people at the Wenshan Community College studied the area and the course of the river, and decided to call a meeting with the schools located along the course of the river to discuss its preservation. At the time Lin Shu Ying was the vice-director of the college. She had retired from her nursing position in 1985 at the age of 34. Her health care background helped her understand the relationship between environmental protection and health. In 1989, she joined the Homemakers Union and Foundation as a voluntary environmental worker. In 1998 community colleges started to flourish all over Taiwan. One of the first, Wenshan Community College, was established with the help of Homemakers Union and Foundation. Lin became closely linked to the community college, and one of its core personalities. “We wanted a more informal approach to the protection of rivers”, Lin said. A series of activities were designed to attract schools, civic groups and local residents. Simultaneously, protection of rivers was included in the curriculum of regional history, becoming teaching material for education on local issues. All of the activities, speeches and exhibitions were designed to “draw the public closer to the river”, said Lin. She talks about the history of water resource management in the Taipei basin: “Ching-mei river has played an important role since the reign of Emperor Qianlung, during the Qing dynasty. Starting from this river right beside us, our ultimate concern is the management of all water resources. Every year, I take students to the summit of Er-ge peak to look at the Fei-tsui reservoir and look into the problems of water usage. Once you understand the importance of the Wen-shan district in managing water resources, you will know the importance of protecting rivers."

Taipei Municipal Wen Shan Community College