BingbingMay13_0969 edit copy 1 (1)

Maranda Pleasant: What makes you come alive?

Li Bingbing: I used to think hard work made me come alive, honestly. I used to have a daily work schedule with millions of things on it and I thought, “This is wonderful!”

Until two years ago, when my younger sister (Li Xue) had a son. To me, my nephew is the angel of my world. It is my absolute happiest moment whenever he smiles at me. I have stopped working 24 hours a day like I was before, and I rush back home to see him whenever I can after work. That always makes my day.

MP: What makes you feel vulnerable?

LB: Last May, when I was in Kenya on a mission to discover the plight of the African elephants, I saw a dead elephant in one of Kenya’s natural reserves. Around her were footprints of her baby elephant. This was just so sad, as three days before, perhaps the mother was still taking the baby around to play and to drink water. In her mind, she probably was thinking they had a life of decades to be together. However, the poaching happened so fast and everything collapsed. Without the protection of the mother, the baby elephant is likely to die too. That moment changed me.

All I want to say is that life is very fragile. We should live every moment and cherish what we have been given.

MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be?

LB: We do have responsibilities, as we live on this planet. It is our one and only home, which we are obligated to protect, to keep as beautiful and harmonious as it is. It is really for everyone to do so, including you and me. I love raising awareness and encouraging people to take action for World Environment Day, because it demonstrates how individual voices can become a global chorus for change. Last year in China, I helped introduce UNEP’s campaign to reduce food waste on World Environment Day. The government took notice of food waste issues and now, when you over-order in a restaurant, you are encouraged to downsize. This is where people can really impact policy and vice versa!

MP: Why is protecting the environment personal for you?

LB: I only started to understand the concept of “environmental protection” 14 years ago. I was an ambassador for a charity event, and the staff told me that the consumption of disposable chopsticks in China, per year, could result in the devastation of unimaginable acres of forest. I was born in northeastern China, where we have the privilege to see forests just out of the window. And I thought, I am going to do something because I cannot imagine my hometown without forests, and I cannot imagine the earth turned into a desert. From that day on, environment protection weighs the same in my life as my professional acting career.

MP: What are some of your biggest concerns right now?

LB: Air pollution is my biggest concern right now. Maybe because I live in Beijing, and in this city we have such severe challenges due to bad air quality. It has affected our daily lives and health. I do not go outdoors because of it. I desperately hope that we can improve the current situation.

MP: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine?

LB: By sticking to my principles and what I firmly believe in – I always have my own attitude towards everything in life. I wish to create trends rather than follow them. My daily routine at the moment is really just a combination of work and family.

MP: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in your life?

LB: Perseverance is my biggest lesson. When I started to get involved in environmental protection 14 years ago, my people did not take it seriously and they never considered it important. But today, people look at what I do and they truly recognize those efforts, and eventually they join you as “environmental activists” too!

MP: What truth do you know for sure?

LB: It depends on what context we are talking about. Take charity work for example; the motivation of my various charitable activities is neither for fame nor profits. It is my sincere wish that, through my efforts, more people can realize how important it is to protect our planet and to start to act for a change. As the Ambassador for WWF Earth Hour, I still vividly remember that there were only 80 buildings in China that participated the Earth Hour in its first year. Six years later, there were 170 cities and thousands of buildings that participated. We are still growing strong. I am encouraged by the accomplishments we have made together and they make me proud and more determined than ever.

MP: Tell me about your latest projects.

LB: I have recently been busy with the promotion of my new movie by Michael Bay, Transformers 4, and I definitely invite you to watch it! I also recently recently launched a UNEP film, On Elephants and Ivory Poaching, shot in Kenya, which I encourage everyone to watch. It may surprise people to learn that one elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory.

Li Bingbing, one of China’s most popular actresses, is well known for her achievements both on and off the screen. Throughout her life, Li has been involved in charitable efforts where she can “practice what she preaches” and promote the need to lead a responsible life. Although Li’s philanthropic efforts have included various causes, activities and beneficiaries over the years, she focuses on carbon emissions reduction and environmental protection.


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