Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Water and Education in China

With the support of the Massachusetts Geographic Alliance, my daughter Paloma and I are giving a presentation about Water and Education in China, where she participated in a service trip last summer. I will speak briefly about geography as a discipline that is relevant to social and environmental sustainability, since we are speaking to a student sustainability club at Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School. I will also speak about Project EarthView, which we may be able to bring to B-R for a club event next year.

Mainly, though, we are going to be there to talk about the trip Paloma took with Me to We in 2013. The trip was very successful in its goals of helping North American youth to understand better their place in a complicated world of economic disparity, while also making a meaningful difference in the lives of children who otherwise lack access to both clean water and a good education.

We had arranged the time of today's visit without realizing that it is an important anniversary, as the Tienanmen Square massacre took place on June 4, 1989. I remember driving from Ohio to southwest Virginia for a wedding that day, and being increasingly dismayed at the news we were hearing from Beijing. We would never have imagined that we would some day have a daughter who would travel to that very spot, and return to tell us about the censorship that is still prevalent in the place. Although it will not be the focus of Paloma's presentation today, we will honor those who perished there.

This Lego model of the massacre was captured by Western sources before being removed from a web site in China in the past few days. Despite the ongoing efforts to quiet discussion of this terrible chapter in modern Chinese history, Buzzfeed reports on the role of social networking in opening public discussion after 24 years.

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