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The Coronavirus and Lessons Learned from RMI’s China Office

One of RMI’s six offices is located in Beijing, China. As China’s coronavirus curve flattens, RMI is in a unique position to learn lessons from our passionate, committed Chinese colleagues. This letter from Ting Li, the managing director of RMI’s Beijing office, describes her team’s perspective.

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I am writing this from RMI’s Beijing office, which had been closed for 45 days starting in late January but reopened three weeks ago and is gradually getting back on track again.

I am writing this with considerable anxiety as I see the coronavirus continue to spread across Asia, Europe, and the Americas, and as I hear that our US colleagues are going through a very similar unprecedented time period to what our Beijing colleagues went through in February. But the key message I would like to share with you is that there is absolutely no doubt that we all are going to win this battle. Beijing, as well as many other Chinese cities, has had no new local cases in the past week. I believe this will start happening in more places around the world.

I feel that what we may need during this turbulent time is just a bit more calmness and courage than usual and more solidarity than ever. Over the past two months, our team here in Beijing has shown remarkable patience and unity, supporting and caring for each other sometimes in dramatic ways, while remaining extremely committed to the mission that we have always been passionate about, a more just, cleaner, sustainable, and safer world.

We were surprised, and I believe you will be too, by how creative and effective we can be to find ways to remain in touch and continue to do good work together productively; inspired by how amazingly we can contribute to our society by just following the right protective measures. We also tried to keep a certain level of humor, and to remind ourselves in daily life to always appreciate the beauty and preciousness of life, family, love, and our Earth. Even through the worst of the crisis, we were able to continue our on-going diligent work including reflecting with our partners and stakeholders on how to move together even faster to face all the challenges.

RMI’s Beijing office received enormous care, encouragement, and help from all of RMI’s offices around the United States. We were so touched by the humanity and solidarity that the RMI family has shown. When the sky is dark, a single light can save. Now the Beijing office wishes to send the light back to our dear colleagues across the Ocean. Our thoughts are with you and YES! the battle is winnable not only because of what we see now here but also because we are standing together, helping each other and the power of free will is in our hands.