Beijing Water

My new green life

(June 8, 2011) A move closer to work reaps many benefits.

By Yang Lei

Life really is greener on the other side for Yang Lei.

After living in Beijing for ten years, I made the decision to rent a small apartment near my office. The move was part of my new “green” lifestyle. So, how did moving closer to work change my life, if at all?

Well, I’m happier! In the past, when I lived far away from work, I spent 2.5 hours in transit every working day. Now, I walk to work in just ten minutes. The time I save on commuting allows me to do more interesting things, like jogging, listening to music, or just plain relaxing. The best part? I get an extra hour of sleep in the morning, if I’m out late the night before.

Secondly, it saves me money. My old apartment was a little larger than the one I now rent. And worries about gas prices and traffic jams are a thing of my past!

Thirdly, I am healthier. No longer stuck in traffic, I have more opportunities to walk. Now, I go to parties and other recreational events on foot: it takes 25 minutes to walk to gorgeous Beihai Park; 30 minutes to the good shops on Xidan Street; and 45 minutes to the city’s famed Sanlian bookstore. What could be better? Ah, maybe the many traditional hutongs and alleys hidden around my apartment. Like an intrepid urban explorer, I now wander through them on sunny days, expecting to find surprises such as an old yard, or delicious food sold by street vendors.

Not only do I love my new green life, I am proud that my new lifestyle is better for Beijing’s environment. Will I ever return to my former distant neighbourhood? Perhaps. If transportation services improve. But then, it is difficult to imagine why I would give up the newfound freedom my green life has given me. Particularly, as I am so close to the best things the city has to offer.

Yang Lei, a 2008 Environmental English Language Training participant, is a team leader for the press department of China’s Ministry of Land and Resources. She has ten years of media experience – as a journalist and editor for China Business Journal and as press center manager for BOCOG (Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games).

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