The Green Long March

From 2007-2010, 5,000 youth from 80 universities across China joined the Green Long March to promote environmental awareness and action on campuses and communities.

Initiated by Future Generations China in partnership with Beijing Forestry University, the Green Long March grew to become the largest environmental youth movement in China and achieved high level endorsement from the State Forestry Administration. In 2009, the Green Long March received China's most prestigous River Mother Award

The Green Long March began as a youth movement with a distinctive focus to identify, document, and expand China’s environmental successes. Major features of the March included:

  • Youth leadership training, teamwork, and project planning: Future Generations China and Beijing Forestry University convened training workshops  in Beijing and at the regional level for teams of university youth. Training  included guest speakers and working sessions on how to design and implement case studies. Student teams planned their summer activities to promote environmental awareness.
  • The "March": Each summer, teams of university youth set out along seven-to-ten routes representing the major ecological zones of China to promote environmental awareness, conduct case studies, and document environmental successes. Routes highlighted China's biological diversity and included such places as the Grand Canal, Yangtze River, Yellow River, Gold Coast, Grasslands, and Northwestern Deserts. Youth traveled by train, jeep, plane, and sometimes on foot to complete their routes.
  • Case Studies: Each year, student case studies focused a specific theme. In 2007, youth documented more than 500 community conservation projects. In 2008, youth focused on green enterprises. In 2009, teams conducted 40 in-depth case studies on green energy successes in 17 provinces. In 2010, youth focused on regional solutions to climate change.
  • Green Seed Awards: In 2009 and 2010, student teams competed for "Green Seed Awards," small grants that allowed youth to design and implement environmental projects on campuses and in communities.
  • Events and Celebrations: The Green Long March promoted environmental awareness through special events for Earth Day, World Environment Day, the 2008 Bejining Green Olympics, and the 2010 Shanghai Expo, reaching millions of people with an environmental message through national media campaigns.

A deeper historical archive of the Green Long March is available on the website of Future Generations China. A major documentary film, The Road Ahead, with an introduction by Bill McKibben, chronicles the first Green Long March.

In 2011, Future Generations China shifts the focus of the Green Long March toward a more comprehensive capacity building program for youth that will lead to more long-term environmental impacts.

Building on the success of the "Green Seed Awards," Future Generations China has launched "GEN FELLOWSHIPS" ("Green Roots Awards"). University youth from across China compete for Gen Fellowships, a one-year mentorship program that provides small grants of 20,000RMB ($3,000) to help students design and implement sustainability projects.