Hong Kong is home to more than 7 million people who live within a total area of about 1,104 square kilometers. It’s well known as an international financial and trading hub and offers a unique combination of nature and an urban environment where lush green jungles mix with concrete skyscrapers. You can easily find mountains and hiking trails right next to shopping malls. In fact, 43% of Hong Kong’s land area is under statutory protection and the territory has 24 country parks, four marine country parks and a marine reserve. Hong Kong is a place where people and nature live closely alongside each other.
The Nature Conservancy in Hong Kong focuses on nature and its impact on quality of life for the territory’s primarily urban population–exploring urban conservation and further developing and growing support for the environment through education programs. TNC is also actively exploring conservation issues in Hong Kong through its scientific approach.
Tackling Key Conservation Issues In Hong Kong
People in Hong Kong are increasingly aware that nature is linked to our wellbeing and needs to be protected. Air, food, waste and water are four key environmental issues that affect our quality of life in Hong Kong.
The impact and dependence of these issues goes beyond Hong Kong to Greater China and other parts of Asia Pacific and conservation solutions also need to look beyond our borders. For instance, despite our relatively small population, Hong Kong people eat four times more seafood than the global average according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. We consume 64.4 kilos of seafood per person, per year, which is double the per capita consumption in mainland China and the 10th highest in the world! But our seafood supply, which mainly comes from the Coral Triangle, is being threatened and diminished by unsustainable fishing methods, damaged coral reefs and storm surges due to rising sea levels. Click here to know more about TNC conservation work in the Coral Triangle.
Lantau Biodiversity Mapping
Lantau island is the most biologically diverse out of Hong Kong’s 263 islands and contains habitats such as grasslands, high elevation forests and freshwater streams. But there is increasing pressure by developers to build on Lantau. This is why the Nature Conservancy is embarking on a new project to take stock of what we have today for more sustainable development on one of Hong Kong’s most iconic islands. We will be working with local partners to incorporate existing efforts. By bringing TNC’s significant remote sensing and mapping expertise, an internationally acknowledged methodology, we will create a dataset that can inform and update existing work. The result will be an accurate picture of Lantau’s remaining critical habitats to support conservation. Click here to know more about TNC’s work on mapping the Lantau Island.
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Inspiring The Next Generation
Hong Kong youth are getting more serious about environmental protection. Too often though, they don’t have the experience or mindset needed to translate their passion into actions that create impact and lasting change. To meet to this existing need, the Nature Works Hong Kong Environmental Innovation and Leadership program was created and piloted with 5 English School Foundation (ESF) high schools in 2013 and will be scaled-up to all schools, Hong Kong-wide in 2015. The program offers students the opportunity to channel their passion for nature into real-world community projects with tangible impact. It offers students the chance to build their environmental competency through experiential learning; to build leadership skills needed for project execution; to meet corporate volunteers acting as advisors to the projects; and having the unique opportunity to join students from different schools and backgrounds across Hong Kong to work together in teams to directly impact their own communities. Click here to know more about the program.