China: The Green Dragon – Environmental Action in the Middle Kingdom

The Details:

Program: China– The Green Dragon
Start/End:  Los Angeles International Airport
Dates: TBD Summer 2025


Note: This program will not be offered in 2024.

The Story:

Views from the Hollywood Hills and atop the Great Wall of China are increasingly obscured by smog. The southwest American desert and the plains of northern China are thirsty for clean water. Families from rural Ohio to southern Sichuan are concerned about food security. Two of the world’s greatest economies: are the United States and China destined to be it’s greatest polluters? The world can take great strides towards achieving environmental peace the day that young Americans and Chinese decide to work together to build a greener future for our planet. Join the growing grassroots environmental movement inspired by the innate connections between ancient Chinese philosophies, indigenous practices, religions and ecological sustainability.  Meet with Chinese students, educators and environmentalists this summer on university campuses, organic farms and rural villages to learn how the Chinese are facing one of most important issues of our time.

The Program:

Your journey through the Middle Kingdom begins in Beijing. Hike the Great Wall, explore the ornate halls of the Forbidden City and take a pedi-cab ride through the narrow alleyways in traditional hutong neighborhoods as you adjust to the pace of life in China. Spend a day on China’s first CSA (community supported agriculture) farm to hear from experts and get your hands dirty. Travel by train to the city of Shijiazhuang to explore issues impacting the air we breathe, land we live on and water we drink with professors, Taoist monks and Chinese students. Visit a clean water NGO and learn about the deep connections between Taoism and environmental protection at a local temple. After living with urban hosts in Shijiazhuang, travel to rural Guizhou province to live with farmers and explore how indigenous communities are revitalizing ancient agricultural practices to build a greener future.  Spend a day on an organic tea plantation to pick and cure tea leaves using thousand year old techniques, make your own organic paper using local flowers and participate in a UNESCO recognized agro-ecosystem project that uses fish and ducks to cultivate rice in the mountains of Southeast China.  Then head to far Western Sichuan to work with Chinese activists and Tibetan villagers under the shadows of two sacred Buddhist mountains.  Learn about the connection between Buddhism and ecological sustainability.  Work side by side with locals on development projects and live your ideals.  At the end of the program, travel to Shanghai to explore one of the world’s greatest cities.

The Activities:


Orientation in Beijing

  • Hike the Great Wall.
  • Learn about China’s growing CSA movement at an organic farm.
  • Practice survival Mandarin language in outdoor food markets.
  • Find your way through ancient courtyards in The Forbidden City and alleyways of traditional hutong neighborhoods.

The Seminar

  • Meet with biologists, professors and environmentalists at a clean water NGO.
  • Learn about challenges and solutions as China tries to balance economic growth and environmental stewardship.
  • Discuss food safety, clean air and water with Chinese students.

Family and Community Stay

  • Live with rural and urban families during short homestays.
  • Meet with English speaking college students.
  • Work with Miao farmers in a village collective and learn centuries old agricultural practices.
  • Make jiao zi and develop Mandarin language skills with your host family.

Field-Based Exploration

  • Visit Guizhou to participate in a UNESCO protected Rice-Duck-Fish project.
  • Pick and cure tea leaves on an organic plantation.
  • Visit the Wolong Panda sanctuary.
  • Hike mountain trails under the shadows of two sacred Buddhist mountains in Western Sichuan.
  • Explore the connections between Buddhism and environmental stewardship with monks.
  • Work with activists on projects that are building cultural, economic and ecological sustainability in a remote Tibetan village.

Journey’s End

  • Travel to Shanghai.
  • Eat a vegetarian meal at a Buddhist temple restaurant.
  • See the famous Shanghai acrobatic troupe.
  • Discuss all that you’ve learned and how you will share once you get home.

The Details:

Program: China– The Green Dragon
Start/End:  Los Angeles International Airport
Dates: TBD Summer 2025