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Thursday, December 24, 2015, 10:35

Mok shines star power on the environment

By Chen Nan
Mok shines star power on the environment
Karen Mok attends the exhibition I Am, Because of You held by The Nature Conservancy in Beijing. (Deng Jia / For China Daily)

Karen Mok arrived in Beijing on Dec 8, the same day that the local government issued the first red alert for air pollution. Schools and construction sites were closed, and the number of cars on the road was restricted.

Wearing a face mask to protect herself against pollution, the Hong Kong singer-actress attended the opening of an exhibition organized by The Nature Conservancy, a leading conservation organization that has worked around the world since 1951 to protect ecologically important lands and waters.

"We are here to advocate for the protection of the environment. Looking at the sky outside the window, it's clear how bad the situation is and how urgently we need to take action," says Mok, who was named an ambassador of The Nature Conservancy.

Titled I Am, Because of You, the exhibition, which runs through Jan 15, displays 15 artworks from 11 artists, including Beijing-based artist Song Yige's oil painting Big Fish, British sculptor and visual artist Marc Quinn's oil painting Heat of the Desert and Japanese artist Teppei Kaneuji's installation Blank Map.

"We use various means, like exhibitions, social media and influential entertainment industry figures to educate people to take care of our planet," says Craig McCaw, chairman of the nonprofit organization, which works with partners in 35 countries and has been working in China since 1998.

Mok says she visits Beijing and other cities on the Chinese mainland every year.

"Sadly, air pollution is getting worse. Enjoying a beautiful sunny day seems like a luxury in Beijing now.

"The air pollution affects people's health and changes the climate. There's also an obvious change in Hong Kong, where I was born and grew up," she says.

"When I was a child, I enjoyed autumn the most, especially the wind. But now, autumn is very short."

Last year, Mok took a three-month break to travel with her husband, Johannes Natterer. The couple traveled around world, including the Amazon rainforest, Tahiti, the United States and Iceland.

"During the trip, I saw many beautiful natural sceneries and animals, some of which are facing extinction. I hope we could save these for younger generations," she says.

Besides the environment, Mok has also been involved in numerous campaigns for animals. In 2003, Mok got in touch with the Animals Asia Foundation to participate in events to save Asiatic black bears.

With The Nature Conservancy, she plans to visit Yunnan province, where fewer than 2,000 Yunnan golden snub-nosed monkeys remain in the alpine forests. She will also join a campaign to reduce demand for ivory and increase resources to fight poachers.

"Every 20 minutes, an African elephant gets killed, which is shocking," Mok says.

McCaw says: "TNC has taken action in Africa to protect elephants and curb poaching. We hope that more celebrities will lend their support to raise the awareness of the general public."

 
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