New Horizons

No 28, pp. 73-86 (November, 1987)

From Conservation To Environmental Education in Hong Kong



By the late 1960's, Hong Kongs population of 4 million Fwas crowded into the twin cities of Victoria and Kowloon, around Victoria Harbour. With some 90% of Hong Kongs total land area relatively unoccupied, however, the policy decision was made for massive investment in new cities to cater for projected populated increases. Complementary to this, however, the need was seen to provide some protection for what had hitherto been Hong Kong' countryside by the formal establishment of Country Parks which would serve as important recreational facilities.

Conservation has not achieved a similar success and few of Hong Kong's locally important natural habitats receive other than modest protection. There is, however in the schools and institutes of tertiary education, a growing awareness of both urban and natural environmental issues so that all students receive some, even if minimal, schooling in these matters. This is not enough, and for many school leavers, their understanding of the Hong Kong environment will be inadequate. Local conservation organisations and World Wildlife Fund Hong Kong, however, are now actively promoting conservation through education. There is a woeful lack of Field Studies Centres in Hong Kong, but World Wildlife Fund Hong Kong at least is becoming more deeply involved in practical conservation, reserve management and active in environmental education. The example of Hong Kong's premier wetland habitat, the Mai Po marshes, is discussed. It is concluded that Hong Kong must and can provide Recreation, Conservation and Environmental Education as an integrated whole as this unique place matures.

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