Success Story – Mr Liu Hongjun

Mr. Liu is a primary school teacher in Shiyan city, located in central China’s Hubei province. He has been involved in ACTAsia’s Earth Day educational activities for 3 years.

Education for Sustainable Coexistence 

April 22nd marked the 53rd annual global celebration of Earth Day. ACTAsia has been a proud official partner of what is known as the largest environmental movement in the world. We contribute to this important commemoration through our Caring for Life (CFL) toolkit for climate change education. These teaching materials use our CFL framework to instill into children life-long care for all living beings. ACTAsia offers CFL Earth Day enrichment modules to schools and organisations across China on both climate change and biodiversity topics. We also hold climate change themed training workshops for teachers. This year, our workshops saw an incredible participation of 3,199 teachers, educators and youth club leaders. 

ACTAsia’s Earth Day CFL toolkit can be integrated into any type of classroom and school subject. Teachers can choose and have the flexibility to listen to what interests their class, building on their experience and prior learning. They build care for our environment and meaningful understanding of climate change. Our education programme foregrounds the inextricable interrelationships between all living things. The toolkit works to connect students to nature. They equip children with indispensable tools for combating environmental crises. With our Earth Day CFL project, ACTAsia is helping young learners grow into a generation of compassionate, environmentally conscious leaders. Leaders who will protect the planet and lead us into a greener, more livable harmonious future. 

ACTAsia celebrated Earth Day 2023 with the theme “Understanding Climate Change.” The turnout was remarkable. 127 schools and teaching units across over 52 counties and cities in China took part. ACTAsia’s 2023 Earth Day activities reached over 35,000 students!

Mr. Liu Hongjun is among the hundreds of teachers who put our Earth Day educational activities into action.  Mr. Liu is a primary school teacher and well-known birdwatcher in Shiyan, in the central Chinese province of Hubei. He has been taking part in ACTAsia’s Earth Day educational activities for 3 years now and has every intention of continuing far into the future. We recently got the chance to speak with Mr. Liu and are thrilled to be highlighting him and his valuable work in ecological education! 

Mr. Liu: Growing planet-protectors through hands-on learning

Mr. Liu has been a teacher for over 20 years. He teaches science, physical education and ecology at Shiyan’s Dongfeng 22 Primary School. In the decades since he started his career, the education field has changed substantially. Teachers bear an immense responsibility, he tells us, now more than ever. ‘We must have a lot of other skills and knowledge outside of the classroom.’ Being an educator goes far beyond teaching core skills and traditional subjects. 

Mr. Liu’s school ‘really pays attention to teaching children about environmental protection and environmental awareness.’ In his outstanding ecology class, Mr. Liu teaches his children about environmental respect and protection with hands-on learning. He loves bringing his students on forest walks to connect with nature, the rivers, animals in their natural habitat. Him and his students regularly go on litter-picking excursions. 

Children in during Earth Day
In Shiyan’s Dongfeng 22 Primary School, Mr. Liu Hongjun educates young minds about the importance of Earth Day using ACTAsia’s CFL enrichment models.

‘I really enjoy seeing changes in my students after my classes.’ 

Mr. Liu found out about ACTAsia through a large WeChat (Chinese instant messaging/social media platform) group chat. The group consisted of environmental education teachers across China. Mr. Liu uses ACTAsia’s Earth Day CFL enrichment models to teach his students about protecting the environment through reducing carbon emissions and waste, recycling materials wherever possible and developing compassion for animals. 

‘During Earth Day, I really want to help the children learn how to protect the environment and frame thinking around consideration of the environment.’ 

Mr. Liu Hongjun

‘At the start of the term, we use scrap paper instead of plastic to cover books,’ a sustainable practice that Mr. Liu encourages his students to continue doing at home. ‘I teach the children how to reduce and reuse.’ Key to ecological education is influencing the parents as well, Mr. Liu notes. ‘Many students are driven to school by their parents every day,’ Mr. Liu continues, during Earth Day classes, ‘I encourage students to ask parents to walk with them instead of using cars.’ 

‘Students are really interested in the Earth Day activities,’ says Mr. Liu. They began reusing notebooks, cutting back on single-use chopsticks and bowls, paying more attention to electricity consumption, and walking to school. 

Mr. Liu is a lover of birds and birdwatching and enjoys sharing his passion with his students to further CFL themes during Earth Day activities. ‘When my students see birds who are injured or hurt by somebody, they are always very sad. They ask me to help them protect the birds, to help them.’ 

‘My students care about the planet, and they are very pleased when they see nature,’ he says. Environmental education and ACTAsia Earth Day CFL activities let them ‘get close to nature and become very connected to nature.’ 

‘Nowadays, teachers have a great responsibility to teach children about environmental matters,’ says Mr. Liu. ‘In China, our education system is exam and textbook based. Primary school students lack knowledge about nature. We need to go beyond the textbook. They need knowledge about nature in real-life.’

Mr. Liu sharing the wonders of avian life with his eager students, highlighting the importance of compassion for all living beings.

It is for this reason that ACTAsia’s ever-growing reach on Earth Day through activity-based learning on climate change is so important. It helps children grow meaningful connections to our planet and its inhabitants. Our educational work fosters critical thinking.  Success stories such as Mr. Liu’s showcase how our Caring for Life framework champions long term, sustainable change by shaping the decision-makers of the future. 

Thank you, Mr. Liu, for your ongoing commitment to ACTAsia and the future of our planet by teaching kindness and compassion for all living things!