US News: Clearing the Air About Being Black in Hong Kong

Written By: Marta Colombo
Photos by: Katherine Cheng for USN&WR

HONG KONG – “IF YOU HAD a time machine, would you go into the past or into the future?” asks hosts Marie-Louisa Awolaja and Folahan Sowole, aka “Lou” and the “Fantastic Fo,” to one of their interviewees on a recent episode of their podcast, HomeGrown. “Black people have suffered enough in the past, what am I going to do back there? There’s nothing there for us, I’m going into the future,” guest Katakyie Ofori-Atta answers while laughing. “That’s optimistic,” says Sowole, also laughing.

The exchange encapsulates the lighthearted approach to discussing serious topics in HomeGrown, which British-Nigerian millennials Awolaja and Sowole recently launched in Hong Kong to create a platform to inform and inspire the Black expatriate community in the city.

While the series deals with timely themes such as racism, inequality and being part of a minority in a largely homogenous society, it does so through personal and relatable stories that deviate from many conventional and stereotyped narratives. More importantly, HomeGrown celebrates diversity and excellence.

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Guardians of the Pearl River Delta (China Dialogue)

By: Katherine Cheng (Published October 16, 2020)

Nestled deep within one of the many bays of the Pearl River delta, a rare patch of mangrove forest can be found hidden between the towering skyscrapers on the Hong Kong–Shenzhen border. Egrets laze in the sun as small crabs scuttle at their feet, a mountainous skyline of construction cranes looming behind them.

Mangroves are small trees that grow along the coastlines of more than 100 countries in tropical and subtropical regions. They were once widespread on the Pearl River delta and around the inlets and islands of the neighbouring Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR). Now there are only about 60 small patches remaining in Hong Kong – the largest is at Mai Po, at the head of Deep Bay (also known as Shenzhen Bay).

Protected by the Mai Po Nature Reserve, this mangrove forest and the surrounding mudflats has been designated as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention since 1995. It is part of a Hong Kong success story, albeit a limited one. After years of degradation, a recent survey conducted by Dr Stefano Cannicci from Hong Kong University’s Integrated Mangrove Ecology Lab found that mangroves are now making a recovery in the region.

This goes against the general trend. Over the past 50 years, 50% of the world’s mangroves have been lost. This is due to a combination of factors, including coastal reclamation, urbanisation, unsustainable aquaculture practices and pollution.

To read more, please visit China Dialogue

Financing Fossil Fuels: From Hong Kong Hallways to Haunted Homes

Walking along the streets of Central in Hong Kong, the banking district of a global financial centre, one would never think of the wide-reaching link that these grand hallways have on communities around the world. But they do.

According to the 2020 Banking on Climate Change Report, the world’s major financial firms have funnelled approximately $2.7 trillion US dollars into the extraction of fossil fuels from 2016 to 2019 since the adoption of the Paris Agreement. In 2019, data from the Climate Accountability Institute revealed that 20 fossil fuel companies are responsible for a third of all carbon emissions

Back to the streets of Hong Kong. Many of the banks responsible for funding the companies can be found here. In the past few years, several of them have made pledges to shift to more sustainable portfolios. However, words are cheap: Bank Track has found that “major global banks’ fossil financing has increased each year since Paris, and that even the best future-facing policies leave huge gaps.”

In this photo series, I take a visual exploration into the link between the hallways of investment, their recent activities, and the communities that they affect as a reminder of the real-life implications of fossil fuel investment in order to hold the major fossil fuel funders accountable.

To read the full article: visit Climate Tracker

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