chapter  1
29 Pages

A crowded island: Taiwan’s environmental setting

When Chen Shui-bian was running for President in the late 1990s, he and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chose the slogan ‘Green Silicon Island’ to symbolize what they stood for and hoped to achieve if they came to power in Taiwan. The ‘green’ represented not only purity of purpose and principles but also an environmentally restored and sustainable Taiwan. The ‘silicon’ stood for the silicon chip, the basic electronic device on which Taiwan’s highly successful information technology economy was based. The DPP was claiming, in effect, that it would do all in its power to maintain Taiwan’s remarkable economic progress within an environmentally sustainable system. It was a noble goal to aim for and it is likely that it won over some voters. Have they succeeded? Not by a long shot, at least not yet. Creating a Green Silicon Island will take much longer than a mere decade, and require the talents and commitment of many people beyond just the DPP. Taiwan has major hurdles to overcome to reach that seemingly utopian goal.