A giant Transformer stands tall in Beijing, but this time without Shia LaBeouf or Megan Fox around. Named the "Vigorous King Kong," it is built to get the attention of young Chinese and teach them about saving the environment.
The Green Dream Park in Beijing's Bird Nest Stadium, the main venue of the 2008 Olympics, opened its green-themed projects this month. Nearly 1,300 people come every day to see giant displays made of recycled materials. Among them is the 38-foot-tall "Vigorous King Kong" weighing six tons.
"I can't believe this is all made of recycled materials," Chen Chen told ABC News, as he visited the park just to see this giant robot on a day when the city's air was thick with pollution.
Workers at the park said it took 20 old vans and trucks, countless tires, and other auto parts to build the statue. "As the biggest population on the earth, changing the notion of Chinese people in their 20s and 30s will definitely make a difference," Zhao Jing Bo, a deputy general manager at the park, told ABC News.
China, which surpassed the U.S. in CO2 emissions in 2006, according to International Environment Agency (IEA), may not be the first country that comes to mind as a leader in global warming. But the government is coming up with new policies in an effort to lead the public to living green. And the people are welcoming the changes.
"Usually, Beijing has one or two snowstorms a year. But last winter we had 10. And as you can see right now, reaching 100 degrees in summer is not surprising anymore," Zhang told ABC News. "Now that people experienced the drastic climate change, they're actually up on their feet to protect the earth."
Students from 23 universities in 21 different provinces have formed an environmental organization to heighten Chinese students' awareness on energy-saving. China Youth Climate Action Network (CYCAN) holds Green Campus Programs in China, asking students to take action on climate change.
"It is getting big," Qing Hwang, a staff member of CYCAN, told ABC News. "More and more students are considering joining environment-related NGOs after their graduation. Almost every high school in China has its own environmental organization and their activities are becoming more diverse and professional."
China has been enduring major environmental problems caused by its rapid economic development and urban sprawl during the last few decades. Desertification, water scarcity, population density, and air pollution are all serious issues facing China, a nation with a population over 1.3 billion.
The government is also developing policies to address its environmental changes. The "2010 National Environment Propaganda for Education and Work Principle" includes new measures to promote cleaner lifestyles for Chinese people. Last year, China announced that it will invest up to $454 billion in the next five years, twice the figure reported in 2006.
So far, 2010 is reported to be the hottest year on record, according to NASA, but that hasn't stopped the visitors coming to the park in the sweltering heat. "It's just small changes in our daily lives that make big a change. We have 1.3 billion people here. We can definitely make a difference," said Zhang.