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The Road Ahead: The First Green Long March

Producers Michael Raisler, MacKenzie Fegan


Right before the 2008 “green” Beijing Olympics, Beijing Forestry University and an international NGO called Future Generations organized the first Green Long March to empower young people in China to be advocates for the environment. Inspired by the mythology of China’s Long March seven decades earlier, 2,000 patriotic college students from across the nation formed teams and fanned out from the great deserts of the northwest to the grass­lands of Inner Mongolia. By train, car and foot, they surveyed the major threats to environmental conservation across rural China and shared their passion for a sustainable future with everyone they met along the way.

In The Road Ahead: The First Green Long March, Director Ryan Wong immerses us in the vast and diverse landscapes of the students’ journey, capturing the experience from their wide-eyed perspective. The students’ wonder grows in step with their concern as they witness both the grandeur of the natural world and the impact of its destruction.

The Road Ahead gives us rare access to an early tipping point of environmental awareness in China, among burgeoning environmentalists whose eyes are opening to what is at stake for the first time. After this inaugural journey, the Green Long March program grew to encompass 80 universities and tens of thousands of students and faculty committed to sustainable communities and ecosystems. The program ended in 2010, when environmental protection had become an issue of widespread public awareness and political strife in China.

The Road Ahead: The First Green Long March is a Cinereach production.