According to the Australian Government’s ABC television and radio network, Chinese migrants who survived a brutal famine caused by Chairman Mao’s Great Leap Forward can teach us how to survive in the coming age of sustainability.
Planting seeds of change
Migrants are no strangers to adaptation, as making a new home is no small feat. But now they’re being challenged to adapt again as Australia’s changing climate throws up new pressures. And there are lessons for all Australians.
China remains the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, releasing 10.06 gigatonnes in 2018 — a gigatonne is equivalent to a billion tonnes — according to figures from the International Energy Agency.
This is a marked contrast with China of the last century, where sustainability was also a part of life, albeit not by choice.
By the late 1950s, tens of millions of people had died in the Great Chinese Famine.
The need to be sustainable grew to become a lifelong habit, and something she brought to Australia.
“During the summer, we raised dozens of chickens,” Ms Chen said.
“I composted the chicken manure and the unwanted weeds or grass to fertilise the vegetables in the garden, they actually grew very well.”
Limiting waste is a habit she’s passing on to her grandchildren.
“When my grandchildren waste food, for example they eat the bread but don’t eat the crust, I’d educate them … I sometimes ate their leftovers,” she said.
For some migrants, the idea of climate change hindering Australia’s safety and prosperity may be a foreign one, particularly for those who emigrated in search of a higher quality of life.
I guess we should thank the Government Owned ABC for being so open about the skills we shall need to master, and the life lessons we should embrace, to survive a Green New Deal future which emphasises sustainability over prosperity.