Elon Musk, Please Help Save Cape Nanhui

Shanghai by satellite (NASA/Craig Brelsford)
Tesla’s new Gigafactory 3 is just 3 km inland from one of the most overtaxed coastlines in the world. As the latest exploiter of the resources of the Chinese coast, Tesla has a duty to counterbalance the impact its factory will have by helping establish a nature reserve at Cape Nanhui. The only coastal wetland reserve in mainland Pudong, a Cape Nanhui Coastal Wetland Reserve would preserve a natural area of indisputable worth, open up the world of nature to millions of Shanghai residents, and help erase the ecological deficit of Shanghai, a chronic environmental underperformer. (NASA/Craig Brelsford)

Dear Mr. Musk:

Tesla Gigafactory 3, the facility that you are building in Pudong, is next door to Cape Nanhui, one of the best birdwatching areas in China. Visionary Shanghai residents have attempted to establish a nature reserve at the Cape and had little success. Can you help?

That we call to you for help is only natural, inasmuch as you sited your factory so close to the coastline of Cape Nanhui, the headland between the mouth of the Yangtze River and Hangzhou Bay and the most southeasterly point of Shanghai. The shape and location of Cape Nanhui make it a particularly important point on the East Asian-Australasian Migratory Flyway. Nanhui is, however, completely unprotected; not a square inch of the environmentally valuable coastline there has been set aside for conservation.

Indeed, in recent years, as a result of the development of Pudong of which your Gigafactory is a major part, Cape Nanhui has been sliced, chopped, dredged, drained, and abused. The transformation has been great, but not so much as to have robbed Nanhui of all its environmental value. The site remains highly worthy of rehabilitation and protection.

With its new factory almost literally casting a shadow over one of Earth’s most important coastlines, and as a new corporate resident of Pudong and neighbor to Cape Nanhui, Tesla has a clear duty and opportunity to help save Cape Nanhui.

Tesla should help protect Cape Nanhui for the following reasons:

(1) Cape Nanhui is of extraordinary environmental importance. The tip of the Shanghai Peninsula between the Yangtze River and Hangzhou Bay, Cape Nanhui is a stepping stone for birds migrating across those bodies of water. Cape Nanhui also holds large reed beds, critical to Reed Parrotbill and other species at risk.

Reed Parrotbill
A symbol of Shanghai, Reed Parrotbill is a highly charismatic and attractive bird. Nowhere do the people of Shanghai have a better chance of seeing this near-threatened species than at Cape Nanhui. (Craig Brelsford)

Critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper and endangered Nordmann’s Greenshank use Cape Nanhui. Around 2 percent of the world’s endangered Black-faced Spoonbill are dependent on Cape Nanhui for several months each year. Large reed beds remain at Cape Nanhui and are the final strongholds on the Shanghai Peninsula of near-threatened Marsh Grassbird and near-threatened Reed Parrotbill. If the reed beds at Nanhui are destroyed, then the latter two species will virtually disappear from mainland Shanghai.

(2) When it comes to conservation, Shanghai is clearly underperforming. More must be done, and a good place to begin is Cape Nanhui.

Nature reserves have been established only on the extreme fringes of the city-province, which is larger than the U.S. state of Delaware. There are no reserves in mainland Pudong, a giant coastal district nearly twice the size of Singapore. Nowhere in the megalopolis can residents without a car enjoy the dramatic East China Sea coast of Shanghai, where Asia’s largest river meets the world’s most important migratory flyway.

(3) Because it is in the back yard of Shanghai, a city-province of more than 25 million people, a well-run, easily accessible wetland reserve at Cape Nanhui would light a fire of conservation across all China.

Shanghai birders at Nanhui
Shanghai birders at Cape Nanhui. These people are the Johnny Appleseeds of birding and nature appreciation in China. Though still few in number, they are nonetheless laying the foundation for a future in which more Chinese cherish the natural environment. (Elaine Du)

Hundreds of thousands of children could visit the reserve with their parents using nothing more than the Shanghai Metro and a quick taxi ride and be sleeping in their own bed that night, dreaming about the wild birds they had seen that day. For millions of parents and their kids, the weekend could be “Saturday, Disney; Sunday, Cape Nanhui Wetland Reserve.” A day at Cape Nanhui would be an early introduction to the glories of natural Shanghai and would foster appreciation of the natural world.

If Pudong New Area can be an economic powerhouse, if it can boast a Tesla factory along with its world-class airport and world-famous skyline, and if it can offer world-class entertainment such as Disney, then it can and must ensure world-class preservation of its priceless coastline and migratory birds.

I hope you agree, Mr. Musk, that the case for a world-class, easily accessible wetland reserve at Cape Nanhui is truly clear-cut.

Mr. Musk, you have both a responsibility to understand the environmental degradation that is occurring in Pudong and especially at Cape Nanhui, and an opportunity to be a leader in marrying commerce and conservation. Please tell us how Tesla proposes to do its part to help conserve your new neighbor, Cape Nanhui. Comment below or write to me (craig at shanghaibirding.com). I’ll make sure that the right people read your message.

Kind regards,

Craig Brelsford
Executive Editor
shanghaibirding.com
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Published by

Craig Brelsford

Craig Brelsford is the founder of shanghaibirding.com. Brelsford lived in Shanghai from 2007 to 2018. When he left China, Brelsford was the top-ranked eBirder in China (930+ species) and Shanghai (320+ species). Now back home in Florida, Brelsford maintains close ties to the Shanghai birding community and continues to make shanghaibirding.com better than ever. Craig is a graduate of the University of Florida and earned a master's in business administration at the University of Liege, Belgium.

42 thoughts on “Elon Musk, Please Help Save Cape Nanhui”

  1. My family moved to Shanghai 5 yrs ago from north China, quite some challenges to us esp. my 10 years old son to adapt the new life; after he turned his focus on bird-watching, Cape Nanhui became Temple of God in his mind, one most favorite spot he must go almost every other week; now he turned to 15 with more pressure from his study in middle school, Cape Nanhui is even more important to him and to our family to enjoy the fresh air and bird watching, please do something to save and keep this peaceful land, don’t ruin the hope of people who love the nature, thanx a lot!

  2. Lens Media, our small video production company based in Nanjing and Hong Kong, will be happy to make a bilingual documentary on Saving the Nanhui Cape Nature Reserve to be (from concept to completion) with Tesla and Elon Musk hopefully aboard to pitch in with the community effort.
    Thanks much to the Shanghai Birding team for this much-needed effort to preserve the world’s natural heritage for centuries to come.
    The Moon’s a great long shot but Nanhui is a bit closer and inhabited by amazing identifiable and hopefully some yet-to-be identified unknown flying objects among our feathered friends. Electric cars and birding are a natural combination, better than any auto ads I’ve ever seen.
    – Yoichi Shimatsu (Daojin Yangyi), with Lens Media (not a birder but a fan of the great photos on this website)

  3. Dear Mr. Musk,

    The East coast of China is quite simply the most significant bird “flyway” in the World. Wetlands along the Shanghai coast link the far North of Russia with sites throughout East Asia, SE Asia and as far as Australia and New Zealand. These coastal wetlands act as “stepping stones” for millions of migrating birds each year as part of the East Asia Australasia Flyway. Remarkably the birds fly this route many times throughout their lives and sites like Nanhui, close to the new Tesla facility in Shanghai are critical to their survival. Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) are relatively new in China, the establishment of a new protected at Nanhui through a PPP between Tesla and local Government would be a brilliant example of how such partnerships can work for the betterment of local folks, corporations and governments. We know you have the power, and you have the ability, do you have the vision? Many thanks.

  4. This is a very worthwhile initiative. I have only visited the area once, but there is some outstanding habitat there, supporting many Reed Parrotbill and some of the densest concentrations of wintering buntings I have ever seen.

    My own preference would be to frame the conservation argument much more positively than in this article.

    In the last couple of years, China has started to embrace the concept of Ecological Civilization deeply – with very positive results for wetland and waterbird conservation in many areas. An appeal to Shanghai to consider becoming a Ramsar accredited Wetland City as part of its striving towards Ecological Civilization might be one way therefore to help approach this. To encourage more action by the city, it is also worth acknowledging and promoting that there already is the Chongming Dongtan reserve. That area too is a very valuable resource – even if it is a very long drive from the city. An urban centre as BIG as Shanghai is (in terms of human population, geography and world name recognition) would clearly benefit by creating as many additional wetland reserves as possible, especially closer to the city, with Cape Nanhui an obvious urgent priority.

    In addition to the obvious benefits that would be accrued by Shanghai by conserving more wetland (in terms of air quality; in support of fisheries; and as areas for re-creation and environmental education for citizens and tourists, including potentially on long stop-overs), a basic plan for conservation at Cape Nanhui which included a proposal for the use of specially-made electrical vehicles to transport people to the area and along the seawall there could provide a marvelous marketing opportunity either for Elon Musk (in China and internationally) or for Chinese companies interested in becoming world leaders in more sustainable technologies.

  5. Fantastic initiative!

    In complement to the post itself and what Nial Moores wrote above, I’d like to emphasize that the chance of things to happen increases dramatically when things are made easy. Just reading the post, it may seem like we want Mr. Musk to “buy” the whole peninsula to protect it. I’d like to put forward a proposal in which the most important areas for birds are clearly marked, and then, if possible, contact relevant Shanghai authorities to get to know what would be needed (in terms of money, paper work, and various other efforts) in order to protect those areas like a reserve. Then get back to Mr. Musk, telling him exactly what to do. Honestly, if he is the kind of man that I think and hope, I do believe the chance that he would “take the deal” is quite big.

    If this message does not create any response from Mr. Musk, please don’t leave it with that – send a personal letter straight to his different mail boxes! My impression is that he enjoys personal connections and personal challenges.

    Having lived a few years in Shanghai, and presently working full-time with bird conservation for BirdLife Sweden (the national partner organisation of BirdLife International), I’d surely be more than happy to help in any way that I could!

  6. The site just 3km from the new Giga Factory is a critical migratory bird ‘pit stop’ – think of it as a Tesla ‘Supercharger’ site where birds pit stop, feed ready for a long journey ahead. The wetlands and estuaries are of critical importance to the survival of many species of migratory birds, yet wetlands across asia have been decimated (land reclamation et al along east coast) – as a result the size and scope of migratory ‘superchargers’ are dwindling, in short less food for the birds and therefore chances of critical seasonal migration dwindling… our ecosystems symbiosis are deeply entwined, we cannot force our will and upset the balance. this is one front among many, and you can make the difference.

    your support could preserve this wetland site, allow the pit stop to help refuel the birds and create safe habitat for many species of plants and animals as well as birds. a move by you could help super charge a spirit of conservation and awareness that is painfully absent amongst the vast majority of asian urbanites.

    Please use your power and influence for good.

  7. I am love in birding around shanghai and mostly I am in Nanhui. Cape Nanhui is so important to me as right over there I started my first birding and made devote myself into birds. 2 years before I made a birding in Cape Nanhui and there was full of wetland and migrate birds like spoonbills. There were thousands of white herons too. However, because of my schoolworks I was forced to stop my birding for 1 and half year. In the past 5.1 holiday, I went to Cape Nanhui again and I was astonished that the inner wetlands was destroyed and was full with cedar trees which is actually no much use for wetland birds. This time I hadn’t seen thousands of white herons dancing on the sandland and the locust trees ‘ flowers ae colleted by the visitors. There was a huge enviormental problem there. Despite the huge destruction there, I still met a lot of surprising birds like a pied harrier and a Gloydius Brevicaudus. If Cape Nanhui was more highly protected I am sure Cape Nanhui will be a much more better place not only for birding but also for picnics and having field trips for the studednts of shanghai. 🙂

  8. The establishment of nature reserves is a critical part of development in any area and provides a green lung in the midst of industrialisation. It would go along very well with the ‘green’ side of Tesla and further enhance its Eco friendly image. So I strongly support this petition to Mr Musk to help in the creation of a Nanhui Tesla Nature Reserve.

  9. With great power comes great responsibility, I hope Tesla can show the world what a great company it is in terms of balancing its own profit and protecting the environment. Doesn’t matter where it settles in.

  10. I am a local resident of Cape Nanhui, I live here, work here, and I love this place. There are 407 bird species recorded in this area, and Cape Nanhui is one of the most important stepping stone for the bird flyaway along eastern Asia coast. It is too important to lose it. But is sad to find out that the environment here is worsening year by year. So we founded a local club called “Eco-Nanhui” to protect our environment this year. We need to take actions before it is too late. More and more people are joining us, including many birders and local residents. Mr. Musk, let’s work together to make a better world.

    1. Elon, You can show the world how a great company as Tesla is able to put sustainability into perspective by contribution to Nanhui natural reservation.

  11. Cape Nanhui is not only the important reserve site for those migrating birds, it is becoming an important site for kids in Shanghai to learn how to live with wild animals and protect nature. In the past 3 years, we saw more and more families come to this place for bird watching. For a mega city like Shanghai, it is only place people where nature prospers.
    As father of boy who started to love nature and bird watching from the place of Nanhui Cape, I sincerely hope Tesla can listen to the voice of local people, be a great company that don’t be evil.

  12. By protecting the wetlands and estuaries、Migratory birds (which contains alot of vulnerable species) will have a chance to rest, and prepare for its treacherous journey. These environment are crucial to the survival of these bird、as they are one of the few spots where they can recharge their exhausted body. I acknowledge that most people care more about economical gains than the environment itself. This is totally understandable since everybody wants to live an comfortable life. However, these wetlands are also beneficial for people, so it would not be smart to remove them. The organisms that live in the wetland can filter our sewage or factory runoff, reducing the possibility of eutrophication in the ocean. These issues will decrease the amount of oxygen in the ocean which will lead to the death of fishes. The death of fishes will decrease the earning of fisheries, which deal harm to us human. We also use ships with nets to reduce the number of algae that floats on the water surface if there is an algal bloom. This act is also absurd as we need to waste our time and energy to exclude an issue that would not have happened if we didnt cut off the wetlands.
    There are many beneficial points in wetland that benefits all organisms. In my opinion, Tesla should not be built to replace the wetlands. Mr. Musk, please reconsider the plan, thank you.

  13. As a high school birder in Shanghai, I couldn’t agree more with Craig’s claims of Cape Nanhui’s ecological importance. On eBird, a website used by many birders to record appearance of birds, 361 species of birds have been recorded in Cape Nanhui, accounting for 28% of all species seen in China. Currently, most of the forest birds at Cape Nanhui are seen in several “microforests” (as birders call them) that are quite small in size. Most of them are about 10 meters wide, and less than 100 meters in length. Despite the small size of these forests, many rare birds still stop here for resting, including Japanese Robin, Oriental Scops-Owl, Eurasian Woodcock, along with numerous species of warblers, flycatchers, and thrushes. Most of these birds also feed on the caterpillars in the microforests for refueling. Several of my favorite finds in these microforests are a female Grey-chinned Minivet and a female Fork-tailed Sunbird, both quite rare in Shanghai. I’m sure other birders all have similar memorable moments spent in the microforests with high densities of birds. The incredible number of birds that can be found in these very small patches of forests only show how the strategic location of Cape Nanhui makes it an important stop for migrating birds, and how these fragile vegetated areas are supporting lots of migrating birds along one of the longest migration route in the world. Nanhui’s reed beds, ponds, and mudflats, on the other hand, are also stopping locations for water birds such as sandpipers and plovers. They also provide breeding grounds for Reed Parrotbills, Greater Painted-Snipes, terns, and herons. During winter, thousands of ducks and grebes also rest and feed in the lakes and ponds in this area. Cape Nanhui supports almost all types of birds’ activities year-round.
    However, this ecologically valuable land is currently not effectively protected. Recently, birders also saw many tourists, ignorant of the microforests’ ecological values, are damaging the locust trees to pick their flowers to eat. If the microforests are cut down, then most of the migrants will likely die of exhaustion on their journeys, as it will be difficult for them to pass 2 major river mouths without resting. Cape Nanhui had also faced more serious problems, such as the clearing of reed beds for factory construction during summer a few years ago. Summer is the breeding season of birds, and the clearing activities, if not paused by the government due to letters from birders, would likely kill many young birds in the reeds.
    I sincerely hope that Tesla, a factory known for supporting environmental sustainability, can halt the construction of factory in this area. It would be even better if Tesla can use its global status to help to protect Nanhui. This will only bring good reputation to the organization, and also set examples for Shanghai and other cities in China to protect the Chinese natural world more effectively.

  14. My 11 year old boy and I are visiting Nanhui Cape every month for birding. We are sad to witness the environmental degradation that is occurring day by day, and the wetland for the birds to rest during the long migration is getting smaller and smaller.

    The birding area of Nanhui are today preserved only by individuals who care about nature. Therefore the importance of Nanhui cape in ecosystem might not have raised to your awareness.

    We need a strong consensus to protect Nanhui cape by enterprises, communities and individuals. As a leader in new mobility, we really hope Tesla can show the world how sustainability can be put to reality by contribution to natural conservation.

  15. I’m a birder in middle school, since I moved to Shanghai 4 years ago, I visit Cape Nanhui almost every month, because I am so attracted by the numerous bird variety there! Cape Nanhui is one of the most important rest stops for birds that migrate through the East Asia – Australasia migration line, and Nanhui not only has great numbers of shorebirds that pass through here, the forest birds in the 8 microforests are also magnificent.

    As Cape Nanhui holds a large number of migratory birds but not as many residents, habitat loss will do huge damage to the birds all through Asia, what’s more, the Shanghai Government is already developing (destroying) the wetlands and mudflats of Nanhui. Therefore, conservation is an extremely urgent issue, so please help to save Cape Nanhui !!

    1. Dear Mr. Musk:

      I’m a grade 5 birder, and since i started birding cape Nanhui is one of my favorite places to go birding. Different species of birds would “rest” there after the long migration from north to south. It is a magnificent place for birders and a 5-star hotel for birds around.

      But year after year the beautiful place started to be destroyed. Large fields of reeds were being cut, planting trees that are not good to the wetland. I’m afraid that if a FACTORY would be built there then the whole place would be devastated. Birds migrating need to change route, which is not easy. The family of birds in the reeds would have to move.

      Why couldn’t the factory be constructed in the city? It would be better than placing it in such a precious wetland. Think about workers in the factory too, cape nanhui is very far from city center, and it is not so easy go there and back everyday for workers. If it is placed in the city, it would be more easy to go there, and schools could have field trips there without going to go all the way to the tip of shanghai.

      There are so many people and birds loving this place, i wish you could plan to construct the factory somewhere else, protecting the birds and plants of Nanhui.

  16. Developers often build on coastal land that is sure to be inundated eventually by sea-level rise because it is cheaper, and because they think they will have made their obscene profits and done a runner by the time this becomes a problem. Or because they think government will compensate them when this happens. Or both. (Most of the undeveloped land in the coastal zone of the Gulf of Thailand that is of key conservation importance to shorebirds has likewise also been bought up by huge corporations, purely for speculative purposes and presents a pending massive conservation problem) Either way, there is zero excuse for building on land that is important for such globally threatened species as Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Nordmann’s Greenshank. In fact, there is no excuse for building ANYTHING within 2-3 km of the coast at least. This ill-conceived project should not go ahead and one must hope that you, Mr Musk, are enlightened enough to recognize this.

    1. Great insights, Phil. The moment Elon Musk initiated the plan to as it were park a giant Tesla on the Flyway, the question, “Environmental aspects?” should have come to the fore. Even if the Shanghai govt. didn’t have conservationists at the negotiating table, Musk himself should have asked for them to be there. Otherwise he’s trying to get away with in China something that he’d never be able to get away with in America, that is, utterly ignore the environmental repercussions of his projects. It’s not however too late. Musk can claim ignorance and say sorry about that, now what can I do?

  17. A city processing nothing but human’s housing places is like a desert. To protect the last Paradise of birds is to protect the future of the earth. We love birds. Please don’t let it happen.

  18. Nanhui is an important space, not for the birds living and passing though there, but also as a symbol to raise awareness and move things forward for better environmental protection in China.

  19. The loss of languages at the rate of one a week, the loss of cultural heritage like Notre Dame and the loss of irreplaceable habitat like China’s coastline are indictments of man’s continuing inability to cope with his own remarkable potential. The Gnostic Gospels had it right when they recognized that the element of the transcendent in each of us needs to find a goal that justifies the inevitable suffering we undergo as tiny creatures in an overwhelming world; the goal must be for good. Are you good, Mr. Musk?

  20. After 8 years in Shanghai I realized that the only reason why I would consider moving to another place would be the lack of nearby wild green spaces to connect with the Nature. Experiencing a deep nature deficit I started exploring further parts of Shanghai, I became aware of the incredibly rich diversity of birds that live in here. Their presence acts as a balm and gave me hope that there is still life pouring up from every creek. Having extensively explored the rural suburbs and country side of Shanghai make me also aware of the important necessity of protecting the few remaining oasis of biodiversity, those genetic pools that are a genetic investment for the future of life on planet Earth, Cape Nanhui is one of them, painfully disrespected but of geostrategic and transcontinental relevance. Please help make this place a good example of Corporate Responsibility.

  21. Dear Mr. Musk,

    Just imagine the impact on your sales in China if the production plant you envisage near Nanhui carries with it a pledge to restore and protect the fragile ecosystem it will call home.

    From a marketing perspective, this is a no-brainer. A pledge to restore the coastal wetlands of Nanhui would be a gift for generations of Shanghainese for years to come to love and cherish as a breath of fresh air from their busy urban lives. Nanhui is a strategic stop-over of global significance for millions of migratory birds on the East Asia-Australasia Flyway. It is difficult to imagine a more profound statement of your personal values and the ethics of your organisation than such a pledge. Just consider the millions of lives – feathered and human – you would enrich.

    You can rest assured that you will have the practical support of readers of this website, the organisations working to protect the flyway, and of course, the Chinese Government that is making huge inroads into putting the substance behind the dream of an Ecological Civilization. You would not be alone; just consider all of the efforts people like Henry Paulson have made in stressing the importance of protection and restoration of the Chinese Coastline as a priority for international cooperation.

    Go ahead Mr. Musk, this is your chance to say to your customers “I care. I act on my values”.

    Warm regards.

  22. Dear Mr Musk,

    Even before I moved to China in September 2017, I wanted to visit Cape Nanhui, attracted by its reputation as an easily reachable wildlife hotspot. I had lived in Japan for several years earlier, and had managed to see a high proportion of East Asia’s migratory bird species, but I knew that Nanhui was an almost mythical place where one can see most of these birds at close quarters and concentrated into a relatively small area, close to a big city.

    To quietly walk through one of the extraordinary “micro-forests” on the inland side of the seawall, with such avian gems as Fairy Pitta, Siberian Thrush, Red-tailed and Siberian Blue Robins, Japanese and Amur Paradise Flycatchers popping up in front of one, is a truly inspiring experience. The knowledge that these birds have spent the winter in South-east Asia and are on their way northwards to the forests and tundras of Siberia, stopping here to rest, feed up and recharge their batteries, like a Tesla vehicle needs to, brings home only too clearly how essential it is to conserve these remarkable and priceless environmental assets.

    Since my initial visit, on my first weekend in China not yet two years ago, I have seen disturbing changes happening at Nanhui. The reedbeds are being converted into plantations of trees in straight lines, bulldozers are ripping up the topsoil from the wetland areas, new roads are being built and large amounts of plastic trash are being dumped in areas where they will almost certainly end up contaminating marine life forms as they get blown away into the sea.

    One of the saddest sights I saw was what had become known as “the defunct nature reserve”, complete with rusted and broken information boards detailing some of the birds of the area, and a derelict and abandoned information center which still bore the WWF logo. Why should a nature reserve become defunct? Well, now Tesla has an opportunity to put its good name to the creation of a World-class nature reserve right on its new doorstep, helping to protect this key recharging site that is so vital to the migratory birds of East Asia. I appeal to you, Mr Musk, to grasp this chance to do something truly positive for the environment of your company’s new adopted home, creating a semi-urban nature reserve to allow Shanghai’s residents and visiting birders alike to wonder at the wild birds that use Nanhui on their northward and southward journeys, happy in the knowledge that Tesla will be a responsible guardian of this extraordinary area into the future.

  23. To protect wetlands, first of all, do not destroy the original ecological environment. If Nanhui wetlands and beaches are not well protected, migrating birds will be a disaster. For our environment, please do not destroy Nanhui Point.

  24. Dear Mr. Musk,

    Shanghai’s rise to the status of being a global economic powerhouse over the latest three decades is nothing less than spectacular, and the magnitude is historical. It has now become one of the most populated mega cities of the World, but it came with environmental price tags attached to it.

    The air pollution from fossil fueled cars you will now reduce by supplying high quality electric cars to the Shanghai citizens.

    Another environmental problem to solve for a mega city is the citizens’ need to once in a while see green nature and open horizons instead of the daily view of concrete, highways and skyscrapers.

    At Cape Nanhui the Shanghai citizen can watch and hear the sea, let the eyes rest on an endless horizon, and let fresh air from the sea chill the face. It has all it takes to make one’s mind peaceful and relaxed. The wetlands and small forests provide excellent habitats for a stopover for birds migrating along what scientists call the East Asian-Australasian Flyway for bird migration. Cape Nanhui is a perfect location for the millions of birds migrating on their way to the breeding grounds in Siberia or Japan. The cape is very accessible, the Shanghai citizen can travel by subway, or why not in their brand new Tesla car?

    Recent development of Nanhui has unfortunately reduced the space of good habitats for migrating birds, though it’s still so little needed to fix it. So very little. Just reserve an area for a nice wetland and a few small forest patches and then let nature take care of itself. No significant maintenance costs. Will Tesla be up for the challenge?

  25. Dear Mr. Musk,

    I very recently spent a few days in Shanghai over from Europe, and spent a day birdwatching in Cape Nanhui. I was amazed by the diversity of migrating birds that I saw. Nanhui really is a great place for birds, and people from Shanghai are really lucky to have such a diversity hotspot so close to their city, and a big one that is !

    I can only agree with what others have said, Nanhui really needs protection. A nature conservation reserve would be ideal to protect the endangered populations of many charismatic birds inhabiting the area or stopping over on their way to breeding/wintering grounds, and Tesla could really help in making the difference !

    Thank you

  26. Dear Mr. Musk,

    I have always viewed Tesla as a pioneer in sustainable development. I believe it is indeed no exaggeration to state that “Tesla has advanced sustainable energy by at least five years, conservatively, and maybe closer to 10.” Tesla’s unwavering commitment to produce the cleanest vehicles and practical solar plants with storage batteries to supply multiple cities never ceases to amaze me.

    As a prospective environmental science major at college, I very much believe in the importance of incorporating sustainable energy into our daily lives. I also find it crucial to conserve what is remaining of now haggard habitats for wildlife. I would love to see more electric cars on Chinese streets, and the location you chose may facilitate smooth production and distribution of eco-friendly vehicles.

    At the same location, however, rests the crux of bird migration in East Asia established over millennia of interactions between birds and their habitat. At Nanhui, I have had countless encounters with flocks containing thousands of shorebirds as well as top predators such as owls. The sheer number of birds proves the ecological richness of Nanhui – capable of supporting hundreds of thousands of birds with its lush forests, dense reed beds, and rich mudflats.

    Over the five years I have spent in Shanghai, I have witnessed firsthand the deteriorating capabilities of Nanhui as an oasis for migratory birds. While much greater in diversity and numbers than many of the internationally protected wetlands I have visited before, such as Yatsu Tidelands in Japan and Mai Po in Hong Kong, Nanhui remains underrated and unprotected. Reed beds containing endangered native species are flattened to fulfill tree planting quotas, and nature reserves are being removed to build canals. Adding a factory to an already precarious region would bring further decline to the once rich habitat.

    I do understand that Nanhui is not as vibrant as it used to be, and how you may have chosen the location for its lack of recognition as an ecologically sensitive region. Even so, much of Nanhui still remains, and the status of Nanhui as a crucial geographical point directly underneath a migratory flyway will never change. I sincerely wish Tesla could bring a sustainable future not only to Chinese streets, but to wetlands such as Nanhui, where urgent help is most in need.

  27. I have been working to try to save migratory waterbirds in the East Asian – Australasian Flyway for some years now. The Yellow Sea coastline of southern China lies at the heart of the flyway, but recent decades have seen the disappearance of huge areas of coastal habitat that these birds depend on. Every remaining area is now vital. And that includes Cape Nanhui. People often ask me how I can remain optimistic in the face of the seemingly unbridled development pressures on coastal wetlands in China. What hope is there for these birds and places? In part I remain optimistic because I have to, but the other part is that in just the last couple of years, we are seeing the beginning of a turnaround in attitudes and actions in China towards saving coastal wetlands. This stems from the embracing of Ecological Civilization, but also from the initiatives of dedicated people who care about nature and natural places in the broad perspective, and about China’s migratory birds and coastal wetlands in particular. And by saving these places, such as Cape Nanhui, we are saving not just China’s birds, but the migratory birds of more than 20 countries along the Flyway that depend on China’s coastal wetlands. It’s all connected, but some of the “weakest links” are in southeastern China. I sincerely hope, Mr. Musk, that you can join this band of dedicated people by supporting the conservation of Cape Nanhui. Your initiative in this regard can be an example to others, leading the way in bringing businesses into conservation actions and leaving a natural heritage that can be enjoyed by generations to come. A true legacy.

  28. Dear Mr Musk

    I am the MD of a chemical company with a vested interest in the growth of e-vehicles as we sell materials for Li-Batteries but I am also a keen birdwatcher and lover of Nanhui, so I know about the conflicts between industrial development and preservation of the environment. Nanhui is so important both for birds – being strategically located on the East Asia migration flyway – and for the growing number of birdwatchers in China who are realising the importance of bio-diversity and the plain enjoyment of unspoilt nature.

    You have every right to build your new Tesla factory in China and indeed it is welcome but please make sure to do this in away which contributes to the environment not just by enabling more people to buy battery powered vehicles but also helps to preserve a veritable and vulnerable eco-oasis in this wonderful city.

  29. Dear Mr. Musk,
    You have a unique opportunity to help create a nature reserve that will be of paramount importance to the survival of many species of shorebirds and other waterbirds that migrate biannually between their breeding grounds in NE Asia and their winter grounds in S Asia to Australasia. These birds are severely threatened by human activities, such as reclamation of land and drainage of wetlands, that destroy the habitats they depend on to recharge their “batteries” during their long arduous travels. Many of these unique birds fly non-stop for thousands of kilometers – what an inspiration to Tesla! Tesla could be a great champion of these unique birds and their vulnerable habitats!

  30. Dear Mr Musk,

    I’m a Brit who runs a school in Shanghai. The whole thrust of education is about preparing young people for their future. China’s amazing advance in the last 30 years has had massive benefits, but also huge consequences, especially on the natural world. China has a bird life that has global importance, so anything we can collectively do to preserve the habitats and food supplies that birds so desperately need should be high on all our agendas. I’ve had wonderful days at Nanhui – it is a special place, a key landing point for migrants passing through East Asia. Please help us keep it for future generations of kids, like the ones I teach. David Mansfield

  31. Dear Mr Musk,

    Kindly take a prompt action to preserve Cape Nanhui. Make your contribution to natural conservation and save the critically endangered species.

  32. I started birding more than ten years ago, but never discovered Nanhui until 2017. Birding for me has always been a peaceful and relaxing activity. Yet every time I go to Nanhui, I feel the rush to cover as much ground as I can, for I know that the wetland and forests I hike today might be gone tomorrow. Gradually, birding trip to Nanhui for me has become an anxious pilgrimage to a temple of wilderness that is being desecrated and vandalized. What will happen if that temple falls? Then we will face not only the disruption of the most valuable and vulnerable avian migration flyway, but also the destruction of a complete coastal ecosystem: The intertidal zone is the home for numerous crustacean, mollusk and fish species that contribute to the nutrient transfer from ocean to land; The microforests are inhabited by reptiles and amphibians such as the short-tailed mamushi and Boreal digging frog, which help to maintain the health of the forest floor; The marshland and agricultural field support mammals such as Siberian weasel and Chinese hare, the latter of which is difficult to find elsewhere in Shanghai. The loss of any of these species in my native city will be a shame, the ruin of a complete system of habitats will be an irrevocable catastrophe. I truly hope Tesla can lead us in this battle against ecological deterioration in the city I call home.

  33. Cape Nanhui is very significant for both birds passing by and our birding, we sincerely hope you can stop to protect it.

  34. On top of all the comments about the fact that Nanhui cape is a sanctuary for migration, I want to share a naive anecdote: when I was a child in my hometown in France I could freely go to the woods nearby but then a big car company settled there to test, fences and walls were built and soon one cannot access anymore to the woods. Gone, forever. It haunts me until this day. I am pretty sure we all have similar experiences. But there are so many areas that are already desaffected (ie old factories) that could be reused instead of always taking new areas. This is recycling. Make the effort to work with Shanghai government to rehabilitate such place to be home to your factory. Who knows, it might even cost you less money and you will gain satisfaction and unlimited recognition. Thanks for your consideration.

  35. Dear Mr Musk,

    As a successful person today, nothing is more respectable than protecting the environment. Please think it over, as a super metropolis, is the need for more cars or fresher air, cleaner water, richer species.
    Cape Nanhui is one of the few birds habitats, would you like to see it be destroyed in your hand? Welcome to pay a visit to there with a binoculars rather than bulldozers, and enjoying the birding and the shining star.

  36. Dear Mr. Musk,

    I could share an anecdote or fifty about the times I’ve had at Nanhui with my parents, with my friends, and in the company of all manner of living wild organisms, but it would seem as if several dozen others have already done so in a more moving and descriptive way than I could hope to imagine. I should affirm, however, that I am of the firm belief that Nanhui would be better off as a preserved natural area, that the habitat it provides is crucial to the survival of significant populations of Reed Parrotbill, Marsh Grassbird, Eurasian Bittern, and other species who are fast losing toeholds across all of China. Not only is this locale important for birdlife, it also holds a special place in the hearts for hundreds of locals who visit it for the coastal scenery, the beautiful golden fall reedbeds, and the diverse fauna that manages to cling on as it has been unable to in so many places around Shanghai. Nanhui is not a formal park, and visiting the area costs nothing, exacts no charges, and asks nothing of the visitor. What better place could there be for Shanghai’s strengthening naturalist and environmental movement to grow and mature?

    But that’s already been said.

    What’s been said by fewer people is the general unsuitability of the Nanhui area for a factory. Not just because establishing an industrial headquarters there effectively eliminates entire tracts of a habitat blinking out rapidly in China, but because the area is simply not a viable location for building in the long term. Its coastal nature puts this low-lying site at significant risk of flooding with future rising sea levels, and with flood-mitigating wetlands reduced or eliminated as a result of the clearance required to build not only the factory, but also adjacent housing, waste storage, and other facilities, the risk of storm damage or rising sea levels is a more than significant one, and one that seems excessively dire when such risks can be eliminated by building the factory at a more inland site, of which similarly priced ones do also exist in the local urban market.

    Additionally, a more inland location might make sourcing workers, consultants, and other staff members far easier. Part of what made Nanhui such a good spot for wildlife—not just birds, but also water deer and wild hares, species that do not do well in close proximity to humans—is its relative isolation from the city. The settlement near Nanhui, Lingang Xincheng, is distant even from Shanghai’s main suburbs, and is referred to by the locals as a “ghost city”—it is clean and well-maintained, but it stands essentially empty. 10 years of birding Nanhui, and 10 years Lingang’s towers and office blocks have stood silently and unpeopled. Attempts have been made to fill its streets with festivals and weekend markets, and attempts have failed. Why spend millions investing in planning, developing, and building in an area that simply stands motionless and hollow? Workers would be much easier to recruit and in larger numbers inland, where the actual residents actually live together in large numbers. Providing more opportunities for more people living in actual Shanghai city would spread Tesla’s name from its current status in Shanghai as an aspect of the super-rich’s lingo to a good name amongst the average worker and layperson as well. Tesla’s sanitary and well-managed factory conditions would be able to spread the company’s good name into the world’s largest city from a stronger position than if these opportunities were restricted to a windswept stretch of coast most Shanghainese have little reason to go to, and the effort and resources you and those you work with invest in this factory may end up as empty dead space—as the rest of Lingang and those who have tried to create businesses there have for the most part.

    Finally, I would like to revisit something that has been brought up by others before. It may be that you simply aren’t interested in Kamchatka Leaf Warblers or Temminck’s Stints, and I wouldn’t blame you, or anyone else, for that. Most people generally appreciate birds, but few become so intensive and passionate as some of the people who have posted above me. These are not just people who smile as they hear a chickadee whistle, or when a zoo peacock spreads its many-eyed train. These are people who would drive hours to see a rare flycatcher, and scramble through thorny bushes to get a photo or a recording of some obscure warbler. These are people who love, who obsess, and who care so, so deeply about something, it may be hard for them to imagine their lives without leaf warblers or stints.

    But that isn’t most people, and that’s perfectly okay! Most people like, and that is all.

    I’m not asking you to love stints, or to reach a nirvana-type realization when you see a minivet fluttering about in a coastal forest. I wouldn’t ask that of anybody. I’m asking you to consider the people who do, and the people who might, and the amount of thanks, of gratitude, and of appreciation you would get from those people, for setting aside plans to build what amounts to just another grey hunk of a factory, sitting forlornly amongst muddy construction work and trampled reeds at yet another coastal site at Nanhui from which reed warblers will no longer sing. Tesla, as others have pointed out, is renowned for its attempt to mitigate personal transportation’s impact on the environment. In the fossil-fuel age, gas-guzzling cars and spewing fumes are an everyday thing, and Tesla’s striving to change that is commendable. Environmental protection may not be on everyone’s top priorities, and that is logical if unfortunate, but it should be on yours, as a modern-day leader and founder of one of the most environmentally well-branded companies out there today, and the maintenance of Nanhui’s natural lands as a preserve for millions to enjoy, sponsored by Tesla, would be a positive thing indeed. Mild admission fees would not be impossible—Chongming, Century Park, and other natural spaces in Shanghai all charge admission—and with the right amount of local collaboration, insight, and development, the Tesla Nanhui Natural Preserve could and should become Shanghai’s paramount natural attraction.

    I am not a CEO, nor an economics major, and I could not profess myself as possessing any strong knowledge base regarding business. I implore this of you only as a Shanghai local who has visited Nanhui for a decade. A factory there may work, just as many others who have tried to start up there thought they might’ve, but many alternatives, or a combination of alternatives, would work so much better. Not just for bitterns, water deer, and birders, but also for thousands of Shanghainese who would gain from working with you, and for the development of one of China’s largest environmental-minded associations, and for your business. There is nothing to lose from changing the siting of Tesla’s factory, and there is absolutely everything to gain.

    Sincerely yours,

    Larry Chen
    Cornell University, Class of 2021
    College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
    Major: Environmental Sciences

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