Initially designed as a fast and efficient way for Canadian soldiers to fight off hypothermia, the Cold-Buster – the culmination of 18 years of research using more than $1 million in funding – was promising to become a success with athletes and backcountry enthusiasts.
But three days into the new year, Wang’s world came crashing down. A handful of poisoned bars had been sent to the Edmonton Journal, The Canadian Press and Calgary Herald. In a letter attached to the tampered products, a group calling itself the Animal Rights Militia announced it was launching a “New Year’s offensive against animal abuse.”
On the 20th anniversary of that campaign, the Cold-Buster, now sold as the Access Bar, is still on the market and royalties from the patent, which is about to expire, have made Wang a wealthy man.
But instead of retiring as he could have in 2005, Wang devotes himself to environmental causes. For the past 12 years, he and a group of volunteer scientists from the University of Alberta and elsewhere have helped Chinese peasants transform badly degraded land into environmentally friendly, sustainable and economically productive assets.
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