Hello from China! Kelsey and I are here in China doing a summer internship through GSSW! We are helping some wonderful people pioneer a new idea in social work – conservation. If we conserve the environment (more green spaces, cleaner air, cleaner drinking water, etc.) then we can directly help increase positive mental health. Think about it. Aren’t you happier when it is a beautiful day outside and you can go play in Wash Park, walk down 16th street, hike a 14er, or even just stroll a trail in the Rockies? I know we are! Unfortunately, those in China don’t have that privilege. We walked through one of Chengdu’s only (if not the only) city park in which all grass was fenced off and the only play area was cement. There is NO grass on the street. If there is an open block, it is filled with apartment buildings and stores (yes, Chengdu has a need for both of these as its population is 11 million and growing!). Kids are forced to play in their homes or in the streets/on the sidewalks – which, by the way, are far from clean.
Though Chengdu can seem overwhelming at times, the escape to the natural beauty of the Panda Research Base gives us a ray of light… literally! The sun seems to shine so much brighter above the greenery and the ADORABLE giant pandas! We saw baby panda cubs, mama pandas, papa pandas, and little panda families. The feeling at the Panda Base was of joy and hope. People seemed so happy to not only see these remarkable and endangered bears, but to escape the hustle and bustle of China’s cities. And many of the tourists at the Panda Base are not domestic – in fact, Kelsey and I met some fellow DU Grad students (International MBA students) at the Panda Base! See how we flock to clean air and greenery!?
More thoughts to come as we experience an Asia for Animals Conference. This should be both eye opening and inspiring.
Pictures to follow as well! Keep commenting and responding to our posts! The more ideas we can bounce out there and conversations we can create… the better!
Sam & Kelsey