A long day around the conference table with copious cups of green tea and hearty discussions about how we are going to try to convince Yunnan officials that their efforts at sustainability in Gaoligongshan National Park and historic Weishan city need work. We spent several days touring the sights, which was fun for me since I had never seen Gaoligongshan, an amazing national park with incredible biodiversity. We also saw the progress in Weishan, where I was VERY gratified to see the restoration on the Dong Yue temple, which our students worked on four years ago.
Here is the team after a week at it: Scott Wayne, Badi’ah, Christina Heyniger, Cheryl Hargrove, me, Jerry Adelmann, Jingjing Gao, Ted Eubanks, Ken Hao, Ted Shear and Floyd Thompson.
We are dealing with challenges – the Chinese have great pressure to develop these sensitive natural areas and the wonderful historic town of Weishan, and little immediate incentive to follow the plans we have developed through the Center for US-China Arts Exchange since 2002. But that is the challenge of sustainability – being able to take the long view and recognize that the quick dollar is the one that kills the resource. Sustainable development is slow and long, and it lasts. But it is always a challenge to convince politicians – in any nation – of that fact.