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, March 1 (Xinhua) -- Riding on a bike carrying all his stuff, Zilong Wang, a Chinese environmentalist, left a farm in Bay Area in California on Monday morning and embarked on his journey with a mission to advocate for ecological civilization.
For the next two to three years, the 24-year-old will be on the road, heading eastward to march though the continental United States and Eurasia and then all the way to China.
The "pilgrimage," he said, is to seek out personal experiences about the ecological and spiritual awakening happening in the 21st century and explore the cultural and economic landscape of the global village
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, through the lens of China's interconnectedness with the world.
"The first day (of the journey) was beautiful," Wang told Xinhua on Tuesday. "A passenger in a car rolled down her window, shouting out 'Good job!' with a big smile."
The only hiccup was his seat post breaking suddenly on the road, he said. But luckily, a bicycle shop stood right ahead and it took him only 15 minutes to replace a new one.
In the following days, he will visit places that inspire him and meet people who could join him in the course for peace and ecological civilization future.
This is not the first cycling journey of Wang, a graduate of the Hampshire College in Massachusetts. More than two years ago, he cycled 3
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,400 miles (5,472 kilometers) from Massachusetts to California for a job in a sustainability consulting company.
In an early interview with Xinhua, he said that he was inspired by the sustainability thinking while in the college.
Born in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in northern China, and growing up Shanghai, Wang studied Christian, Buddhism, Islam, Mormon and other religions. However
, what he believes is the Nature, he said.
A four-week trip in China last year changed his view about his mother country, where he said an ecological and spiritual awakening is taking shape in the country.
"There is the China we hear about in the news: the largest economy in the world; lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty and into urban areas; largest CO2 emitter; entrenched corruption; toxic air; poisoned food and water; growing disparity; political uncertainties; global expansion and entanglement."
"Yes, that's perhaps all true. But, on my trip across the country, I saw a different China -- different from my impression just a year ago, and different from what I thought I knew," said the young man who speaks fluent English.
During visits to temples
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, eco-villages among other places and discussions with local Chinese people, "I saw countless people and groups doing their small and inspiring parts. Many of them do not know each other. But they are essentially doing the same work: being the change they want to see in the world."
Wang's feeling is shared by other ecological experts, who also took notice of the encouraging signs of increased ecological awareness in China.
"China's villages are most promising places for ecological civilization construction," said U.S. ecological philosopher John Cobb, Jr, who has been keeping a close eye on the latest policies and development in China during the past decade.
In recent years, the Chinese government launched a wide-ranging set of ecological reforms to build what it calls an "ecological civilization," including protection of natural resources right
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, establishing a national parks system, and improving environmental compensation mechanisms.
In China's rural area, the usage of chemical herbicides and pesticides has been reduced, rural infrastructures improved, and lives of farmers are changing for the better.
"Perhaps, we are moving up (Abraham) Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Perhaps, the environmental and moral degradations have become too much to bear. But for whatever reason, I know for sure that the clock has struck: ours is a time for ecological and spiritual awakening
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," Wang said. Enditem
U.S. President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with Federica Mogherini, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, during the EU-USA Leaders' Meeting at the European Council headquarters, in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017. (XinhuaThierry Monasse)
BRUSSELS, May 25 (Xinhua) -- European Council President Donald Tusk admitted on Thursday that the bloc is still at odds with the United States over issues like climate
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, trade and Russia.
"My feeling is that we agreed on many areas. First and foremost, on counterterrorism... But some issues remain open, like climate and trade," Tusk told reports after meeting with visiting U.S. President Donald Trump.
"And I am not 100 percent sure that we can say today -- we meaning Mr. President Trump and myself -- that we have a common opinion about Russia, although when it comes to the conflict in Ukraine, it seems that we were on the same line," he added.
Tusk said he told the billionaire U.S. president that they should consolidate "the whole free world around those values, and not just interests."
"Values and principles first - this is what we
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, Europe and America, should be saying," said Tusk.
Trump, on his first overseas trip as U.S. president, on Thursday met with Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, both of whom have been critical of Trump's remarks in the past.
Later on Thursday, Trump and leaders of other NATO countries will meet for the first time to map out the future of the organization
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, and try to narrow their differences on its budget.
The U.S. President has had a fractious relationship with Europe since his candidacy, in which he publicly applauded the pro-Brexit campaign before and after the referendum which saw Britain decide to leave the European Union.
In January, as president-elect, he rattled many European allies by .
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