Inspiring Others to Act
And who could doubt the answer from a man who since 1990 has walked more than 46,500 kilometres, through 39 nations planting trees, spreading the environmental message and inspiring people to actions that are for the good of humanity.
Because of his actions, thousands of people have supported and joined his efforts. Most noticeably they are supporting his campaign to encourage the planting of 100,000,000 trees, one for every man, woman and child killed in the wars of the last century. To date, over 11,300,000 have been planted.
Paul represents many organisations, is an Ambassador to the United Nations ‘Culture of Peace’ Peace Messenger Initiative, and serves as the Charity Ambassador to the Living Rain Forest Exhibit in the UK-based institution.
Hong Kong to Beijing
On September 22, 2007, British-born Paul (52) and his Japanese wife Konomi Kikuchi began walking from Hong Kong to Beijing, joining China’s efforts to ‘Green the Olympics’.
By walking to the Olympics, Paul is meeting many people and spreading the environmental message through tree planting activities. He has received considerable official support and is being followed by the Chinese and International media. Two Early Day Motions have already been entered into the British Houses of Parliament supporting this walk, and encouraging the next Olympics, to be held in London, to be as sustainable and ‘green’ as possible.
The Games Will be Green
China won the Olympics on the premise that the games would be ‘green’. The Olympics is a monumental event for any nation and draws the attention of the world. China is undergoing massive change, and surely what happens in China will affect everybody.
Paul believes that China is a powerhouse coming ‘on-line’, and for the sake of humanity and the planet, China needs to develop in a sustainable way. Furthermore, he believes that if China goes green, the world will be encouraged to go green.
Joining the Walk
When Louise Taylor and myself joined Paul and Konomi with a supporter of theirs, Yuji Miyata, they had already walked 2,500 kilometres from Hong Kong to the flood plains of Northern Jiangsu. This walk had taken them through cities large and small, through towns, villages, and communes. They have hiked through rice paddies, along beaches, over mountains, down highways, through every type of environment imaginable and unimaginable.
They have experienced China’s environment at its worst and at its best. They have seen water bubbling and boiling as black as a witch’s cauldron, and have drunk from streams crystal clear. Those who’ve joined Paul and Konomi along the way have experienced and learned.
Planting the Seeds
The tree plantings have been treated with great sincerity and have occurred at very special locations, including Three World Heritage Sites, and a memorial to the victims of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre. Other informal tree plantings include the first event which was hastily arranged when Paul and his wife arrived at a restaurant in the small village of Yabachoa, Guangdong.
At the restaurant were a road construction crew, and when they discovered Paul’s mission and Konomi’s nationality, they suggested a tree planting of friendship between China and Japan at the nearby site of a 1937 Japanese invasion force landing. Such spontaneous occasions as these are the essence of Paul’s work. Paul is looking forward to being part of further spontaneous environmental events during the Olympics.
Achieving the Goals
From the experience of walking with Paul and Konomi for 180 kilometres, over 10 days between Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province and Qufu, Shandong Province (we finished at the grave of Confucius), Louise had the following comment: “The recycling at a local level of glass, plastic, paper and metal was amazingly visible; however, sadly, the casual and careless disposal of waste was also evident in many parts of our walk.”
For myself, my last thought is of “Setting your goal, and then taking small steps to achieve it, which is what Earthwalker Paul Coleman does every day!”