Empowering Communities: The Deep Blue Environmental Protection Action Center’s Role in Climate Action

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In response to the global crisis of climate change, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recognizes the need for engagement from all sectors of society, including NGOs. Chinese NGOs, however, have had limited involvement in addressing this critical issue, despite China being the world’s largest annual carbon emitter. The China Development Brief (CDB) interviewed Mr. Ye Nianchang, director of The Deep Blue Environmental Protection Action Centre, one of the earliest Chinese NGOs to engage in climate issues.

CDB: Could you provide an overview of the Deep Blue Environmental Protection Action Center, including its mission and key areas of work?

Ye: The Deep Blue Environmental Protection Action Centre, located in Luyang District, Hefei City, Anhui Province of China, has evolved into a reputable and influential public welfare organization, focusing on preventing and controlling chemical and hazardous waste pollution, industrial pollution, and promoting water environment protection and climate change response.

CDB: What led your organization to prioritize decarbonization and climate action, and could you share some key milestones or achievements in this area?

Ye: Our organization has been a pioneer in climate advocacy in China, with founding members actively involved in the China Civilian Climate Action Network (CCAN) since its inception. We have made significant contributions to various United Nations Climate Change Conferences and Action Summits, helping draft position papers and policy recommendations for Chinese NGOs. In 2022, our efforts were recognized with the ‘China Climate Change Education Ten-Year Contribution Award’ by CANGO. Since 2018, as a director of CCAN, we have played a key role in coordinating efforts between CCAN and CAN, demonstrating our commitment to advancing decarbonization and climate action.

CDB: Could you describe some specific initiatives or projects your organization has undertaken to address climate change, and what impact have these efforts had on the local community and environment?

Ye: Our organization has implemented several impactful initiatives to address climate change, for example:

  • Climate Change Education” Project: Conducted annually since 2016, this project has trained over 100 teachers and 10,000 students. In 2021, we published the domestic reference book on climate change education, benefiting educators and students alike.
  • Continuing Education Efforts: In 2022-2023, we will conduct workshops for teachers, develop a “Water and Global Climate Change” curriculum, and deliver 12 courses to approximately 800 students in primary and secondary schools.
  • Low-Carbon Community Project: In 2022, we established a model low-carbon community in Anhui Province, featuring the first “Low Carbon Life Museum.” This museum educates residents on climate change and promotes low-carbon living practices. We also organized the first “Community Low Carbon Festival,” involving over 110 families who collectively reduced 1816.30027 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Educational Short Drama: To raise awareness, we created and filmed 25 episodes of “Polar Bear’s Diary of Low Carbon Decoration,” showcasing low-carbon home decoration and family life practices. The videos have been widely viewed on Chinese TikTok and WeChat.
  • Media Communication Workshops: To enhance media coverage of climate issues, we organized two workshops for journalists from Anhui Province, training over 20 participants on low-carbon reporting and climate change knowledge.

These above initiatives have significantly raised awareness and promoted sustainable practices in our community, contributing to a healthier environment and a more climate-conscious society.

CDB: What challenges have you faced in implementing these projects, particularly regarding sustainable funding, and how have you addressed these challenges?

Ye: One of the main challenges we’ve encountered is ensuring sustainable funding for our projects. Many of our initiatives are one-time or short-term, making it challenging to secure continuous funding. Despite submitting multiple proposals, we have not yet found an effective long-term funding solution. We are actively exploring alternative funding sources and strategies to ensure the continuation of our projects and their impact on the community.

CDB: How do you engage with local government, businesses, and communities to advance decarbonization and climate action?

Ye: We collaborate with local stakeholders in several ways, for example:

  • Inclusive Planning: During project planning, we involve community opinion leaders and directors to ensure projects meet the needs of the community.
  • Community Involvement: We recruit volunteers from the community to actively participate in project implementation, ensuring community residents are engaged and enthusiastic about participating.

CDB: What lessons from your organization’s work do you believe could be valuable for other regions or organizations?

Ye: We have developed case collections, videos, tutorials, and project execution of SOPs (Standard Operational Procedures) to empower other public welfare organizations. These resources can serve as valuable tools for organizations in other regions looking to implement similar initiatives.

CDB: What role do you see NGOs playing in the future of decarbonization and climate action, especially considering the actions taken by government and market sectors?

Ye: While government and market sectors have implemented various policies and initiatives, NGOs have been relatively less active in direct activities in the field of decarbonization and climate action. In the future, NGOs could potentially play a crucial role in complementing government and market efforts by advocating for policy changes, raising awareness, and implementing grassroots initiatives to drive meaningful change.

CDB: What advice would you offer to organizations or individuals seeking to promote similar initiatives in their communities?

Ye: My suggestions could include some of the following points:

  • Collaborate with Professional Bodies: Partnering with professional organizations can help ensure that proposed initiatives meet high standards and are credible.
  • Engage with Stakeholders: Involve community members, local businesses, and government agencies in the planning and implementation process to build support and ensure the initiative meets local needs.
  • Focus on Education and Awareness: Raise awareness about the importance of the initiative and its potential impact on the community to garner support and participation.
  • Seek Sustainable Funding: Explore various funding sources and develop a sustainable funding strategy to ensure the long-term success of the initiative.
  • Monitor and Evaluate: Continuously monitor and evaluate the progress of the initiative to make informed decisions and improve effectiveness over time.
  • Collaborate and Share Knowledge: Collaborate with other organizations working on similar initiatives to share knowledge, resources, and best practices for mutual benefit.

CDB: Is there anything else you would like to share about your organization’s work or the importance of decarbonization and climate action?

Ye: Our organization’s work in promoting decarbonization and climate action has been driven by a strong commitment to environmental sustainability and community engagement. Through our various initiatives, we have not only raised awareness about the importance of addressing climate change but also actively involved local communities, businesses, and government agencies in our efforts.

One key lesson we’ve learned is the importance of collaboration. By working closely with stakeholders from different sectors, including professional bodies, community leaders, and government officials, we have been able to develop and implement effective strategies that have had a positive impact on our community.

Additionally, our focus on education and awareness has been instrumental in inspiring change and fostering a culture of sustainability. Through our climate change education programs and outreach efforts, we have empowered individuals and organizations to take meaningful action towards reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change.


The Deep Blue Environmental Protection Action Centre believes that NGOs can play a crucial role in complementing government and market efforts to address climate change. They offer advice to organizations and individuals seeking to promote similar initiatives, including collaborating with professional bodies, engaging stakeholders, focusing on education and awareness, seeking sustainable funding, and monitoring and evaluating progress. Their work showcases the importance of NGO involvement in climate action. Through collaboration and innovative initiatives, they are making a meaningful impact on environmental sustainability and community engagement.

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