Is this thing on?

Thursday, May 14, 2010
Beijing

Today was my practice interview with Fauna & Flora International, an NGO whose Beijing office is housed in the Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. I was quite nervous, especially after finding out that Dr. Z was going to sit and record my interview and provide me with critiques after. Fortuitously, Xiaoya was not in the office when we arrived, and I was able alleviate some of my nerves by chatting informally with Lu Yan, her office mate, about her own work on primate conservation. Lu Yan’s English was exceptional, and we found out that she’d studied abroad in England. Her work involved the protection of gibbons in the southern part of China (there was also a site across the border). Part of FFI’s approach includes working with local communities to make them engaged stakeholders in the conservation process, and building education programs for youngsters.

My interest is in understanding conservation programs that take into account human needs, local community participation…

Objective: To learn a little bit about FFI’s China specific projects, and understand some of the challenges facing conservation efforts at the community and local level. To also get a general idea about how conservation and environmental issues are perceived by different socio-economic classes in China. What are some of the differences in thinking about environmental issues such as wildlife conservation, protecting biodiversity, natural resource management, and development across socio-economic classes in both rural and urban areas.

1. May I ask where are you from? Where is your hometown? Can you describe the region to me?
2. How long have you been involved with Flora & Fauna Intl and how did you become involved with conservation work?
3. What is you area of concentration? What are your current projects?
4. What are the challenges you’ve faced in working in rural areas in terms of response of community members?
5. The scale of environmental issues can be tremendously overwhelming as there are so many factors to consider – what are some strategies or tools FFI is using at the grassroots level to accomplish its mission?
6. Who is thinking about conservation in Beijing today? Middle class? Upper class?
7. What are the driving forces or strongest motivators for conservation efforts? Economics? Social networks? Policy?
8. Americans in general have a poor understanding about China’s environmental policies. In your opinion, what is most misunderstood about China’s environmental policies abroad?

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