Most people love the story of David and Goliath. What could be more compelling than seeing people with no power winning out over the big guys with all the power?
On Monday night (November 28), the David Suzuki Foundation hosted a special advanced screening for about 150 friends of the Foundation to view Gary Marcuse and Betsy Carson's award-winning documentary Waking the Green Tiger, at CBC Studio 700. The documentary will be shown on The Nature of Things with David Suzuki on CBC TV, cable 26, December 8, at 10 p.m.
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Throughout the 20th century, the Chinese people went through the most intense political upheaval in their history. In the decades before Communism took China, the country drifted from an imperialist regime to one with a short-lived republican national government. Four years after the end of World War II, China came under Communist rule with then party chairman Mao Zedong at the helm. The documentary underscores the decades of environmental degradation in China that resulted from Mao's belief that "man can conquer nature." But the core of the story is about how a small group of modern villagers in a remote part of China called the Leaping Tiger Gorge banded with a handful of committed environmentalists and successfully fought off the central government's plan to build a dam in their village, which would have decimated their lives and livelihoods.
Most Canadians can only read such incredible stories in a book. Thanks to Marcuse, Carson, CBC's The Nature of Things and the David Suzuki Foundation, the real-life story of these Chinese villagers came alive in CBC's Studio 700.
David Suzuki was on hand to help the audience connect the dots of how Canadians should take note of the achievement of these Chinese villagers, most of whom cannot read or write. The lesson for us was shared by one of the guests who attended the event. "If those villagers can move the government of China to change its plans, it makes one feel that almost anything can be accomplished with persistence.... I am grateful for the freedom we enjoy in Canada but we must move beyond just getting our conversations started about the inequalities of our society," Charlotte Goeltz wrote in an email after viewing the documentary.
Peter Robinson, CEO of the David Suzuki Foundation