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November 28, 2009

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City student an eco-advocate

A 17-YEAR-OLD Shanghai high school student will attend the Children's Climate Forum 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark, today with four other young Chinese.

The high-school students were selected as delegates to the forum because of their enthusiasm and their efforts to help reduce climate change during their spare time.

The other participants are from Beijing and Sichuan and Guangdong provinces.

Chen Xizhao, a junior at Shanghai's Nanhui High School, is a big supporter of environmental protection, according to his parents and teachers.

As the third-prize winner of the "Promising Star" national "English charisma contest," his language ability will allow him to communicate smoothly with students from other countries at the forum.

Chen said he expects to express his ideas on environmental protection in urban areas along with discussing some of the breakthroughs that will be on display at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

Chen Weihong, Chen's teacher, said the youngster organized a volunteer team for environmental protection at school.

The team promoted an environmentally friendly lifestyle to others.

He also set up a similar organization with a schoolmate in his neighborhood, recycling trash from people's homes.

"He is very good in his studies and also keen about his many activities outside class," Chen Weihong said.

The teacher almost mentioned that the young Chen carried out a survey on the use of chalk at school when he became aware that chalk production causes the release of carbon dioxide, the chief culprit in global warming.

"He tried to persuade teachers to use whiteboards more than blackboards to save chalk," she said.

Chen's mother said her son has long been fascinated by the natural sciences.

"We subscribed to a science magazine for him when he was a little boy, and he was fond of it," she said.

Altogether 160 children from 44 countries and regions will take part in the forum, held by the UN Children's Fund.

They will voice their opinions in the global climate change debate and try to influence the decision-makers participating in the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.


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