The goal: To meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to fulfill their own needs; to achieve economic development while protecting the atmosphere, fresh water, oceans, land, forests and other natural resources which humans depend on for their survival; leaving room for the future generations to live and work sustainably.
The challenges: Climate change and wasted energy; the serious threat global warming poses to humankind; biodiversity loss; the loss of natural regions due to urbanization, agricultural development, deforestation and environmental pollution, leading to the extinction of thousands of species—all of these are profoundly affecting or could profoundly affect every citizen on earth.
As a pioneer in sustainability, Alcoa is committed to the sustainable development of resources and the environment, enabling more people to gain a deeper understanding of the importance of sustainability, thus giving me this opportunity to enter the Gutianshan Nature Reserve as a sustainability researcher and Earthwatch Fellow.
Our team was warmly received by the Earthwatch staff upon arriving in Gutianshan. With the staff’s thorough explanation of the conditions of the earth, the impact different human activities have on it, and the influence on global climate change in sub-tropical forests, we learned a lot that we had never previously understood. Through discussions and interactions with our team members, we examined the problems the earth now faces and the importance of sustainable forest development.
Experts led our team into the forest where we personally made growth rings for trees and monitored their growth, looked at the stability of the canopies and their light transmission, and collected research data in the field. They also led us into the laboratories where we sorted, classified and weighed the collected samples from the wild forests, secondary forests, and artificial forests, as well as inputted the data into the system. We now understand how difficult and challenging the work of scientists is, and the importance of their research for us in achieving sustainable development.
Species are the foundation of an ecosystem. Rapid economic growth has accelerated humans’ demand for resources. Human activities are now producing increasingly serious and perhaps irreversible effects such as global climate change. For this reason, Alcoa has set up a long-term development goal for sustainability and hopes to find a win-win coexistence between production and the environment. This method would not only require that we use fewer resources to produce products, but at the same time reduce CO2 emissions as well as other environmental pollution in order to improve the competitiveness of our enterprise.
As Alcoans, we must take advantage of the excellent opportunity our company has provided us and, through the knowledge we gained of environmental protection and sustainability measures, be examples of actively promoting environmental protection and sustainable development to the public. We must urge the public to actively participate in environmental protection, promote an environmental culture, spread the concept of environmental protection, and contribute their own efforts to drive the creation and development of an eco-civilization.