Working as Partners Preserving our Planet in Xi’an, the Kubuqi Desert and Beyond

My recent trip to Xi’an was an incredibly captivating and inspiring experience. Perhaps one of the most exciting moments was my visit to the fertile, plush green farms of the villages just north of this ancient city with our exchange students at Xi’an Middle School. These compounds were composed of museums, immaculate gardens and greenhouses, capturing my eye at every corner. Flowerpots without the use of real soil, as well as reviving ancient plants were some of the technological advancements made at these sites. The students collaborate with biologic and ecologic organizations to research, study and learn how to integrate their work in the classroom into their community.

Upon returning from our journey and reflecting on these environmental efforts, I was motivated to learn of other areas in China that embrace this same passion of sustainability and protecting the environment. In my research, I came across a fascinating August 2017 article from The Wall Street Journal entitled Model Helps Make Desert Green Again, discussing the immense challenges of desertification in Northern China and the efforts to reverse the deterioration. Desertification is a natural process where a relatively dry area of land becomes increasingly arid, losing its bodies of water as well as vegetation and wildlife. Within the last thirty years, a “reforestation” project has unfolded in the Kubuqi Desert, helping to restore its natural beauty. Examples of these efforts include planting of crops and herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine by local farmers to improve the soil quality and also building solar power plants. The impact of these projects has resulted in a “green forest” expanding more than 2300 square miles in the last thirty years.  This “Kubuqi model” was recently discussed in July 2017 at a forum in the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia, attended by 250 heads of state, leaders in global business and diplomats from over 35 countries around the world. In addition to the reversing the desertification effects, this new plan has lifted more than 100,000 people out of poverty in this area. President Xi Jinping and Vice-Premier Ma Kai discussed how China has made great progress in this fight against desertification. “China has played a big role in global ecological improvements” added Jiang Nanqing, a representative in China for the United Nations Environment Program. This experience of “greening of the Kubuqi Desert” is a significant model for other countries creating jobs, promoting the economy and helping the environment.

On one of our last days in Xi’an, Jericho and Xi’an Administrators as well both student bodies sat together in a forum as global advocates of our environment. Although we live thousands of miles apart and speak different languages, we bridged our differences and became partners as we addressed the future of our planet and what we can do as students and leaders to come up with solutions to improve the world. Through efforts such as recycling, conserving, preserving and educating the public, we can come together to empower our neighbors to make a difference and protect our planet for the next generation.

Some of the information in this article came from the following sources:

Hui, Yuan, and Zheng Jinran. “Model Helps Make Desert Green Again.” The Wall Street Journal [New York], 18 Aug. 2017.

There are 24 comments

  1. Alynah Ratansi

    This is extremely interesting. I love the fact that you overcame your differences and became partners while addressing the future of our planet.

  2. Joanna

    Wow, this was very interesting. It’s good to know that you worked to preserve the environment, and worked together with others from across the globe to do so.

  3. Maya Yu

    Wow, this article was so fascinating! I learned about our partnership with the school in Xi´An and how you all are working together to help benefit the environment.

  4. Kelly M.

    Very insightful! It’s amazing how the Chinese have put into action these reforestation projects and play such a major role in the world’s environmental improvements.

  5. Logan C

    What an interesting article. It was so cool to learn about how the Chinese are trying to work against habitat loss. It was also great to see two schools unite for a cause bigger than us!

  6. Emily

    This was a very interesting article. I hope that through Jericho’s collaboration with Xi’an, the two schools can come to establish a better home in the future.

  7. Dylan Swickle

    Thanks Matt for writing this article. It was very interesting to see what you took away on your journey to China, and the immense amount of knowledge you gained! I had an amazing time with you, and learning and discussing about the environment with the students in China was an amazing experience. I am glad we shared this opportunity together.

  8. Jason S.

    This was such an interesting article! It was so cool how you guys were able to discuss environmental issues occurring all over the world! It’s also really cool how the students from Xi’An Middle School are able to collaborate with many organizations to help make a better environment! Great job Matthew!

  9. Eric Wang

    This is so interesting! It reminded me of the Xian and I miss it so much there and we also learned so much from this trip so thanks so much for reminding of it! Very interesting article!

  10. Avery Porges

    Wow! This is incredibly descriptive, and I learned a lot from it! Thanks for going in depth on how China is dealing with their environmental problems.

  11. Tiffany C.

    It’s truly amazing how countries so far from each other can still work together in order to make our planet a better place. I learned so much from this article. Great job!

  12. Pritesh P.

    A very well written and interesting article Matthew! i can clearly see how much Chinese culture you grasped on your trip to China. Keep up the great work!

  13. Nicholas Yum

    What a great article and a great initiative! Protecting our environment has become one of the main focuses all around the globe! It is great to know that communities half way around the world from each other can work to together on such a great cause!

  14. Amy Sheen

    I think that this is so amazing and I enjoyed learning about this. It was very interesting to read about how the trip to China really seemed to have an impact on the students and taught them so much.

  15. Michael P.

    Wow, Matthew. I had no idea that the Kubuqi Desert was falling prey to desertification and that China has planted crops to fight against the desertification. On a different note, I liked how you addressed those environmental meetings we had with the Chinese students. It was interesting to see that the Chinese students appreciated the environment as much as we did. Great Work!

  16. Boshu

    Desertification is really a problem for Chinese. Fortunately, many people stick on chaging the desert into forests. And this did help a lot. I’m glad that you care about China’s environment! You really enjoyed this topic.

  17. Jeff Bao

    Great job Matthew! I didn’t know that desertification is a major problem for the Kubuqi Desert. Clearly, after going on the trip, you have obtained new and interesting knowledge! It’s also really interesting to see how these students you worked with cared for the environment as well!

  18. Herin Ahn

    It’s so cool how Jericho and Xi’an Administrators sat together in a forum as global advocates of the environment. I really hope that Jericho can be helpful to this project.

  19. Hitomi Honda

    Wow, Matt! Your article is so beautifully written and I learned so much from it. For example, I learned about desertification and a “reforestation” project that is helping in the Kubuqi Desert. I love that your article is so descriptive and I really enjoyed reading it. Thank you for sharing!

  20. Pratim

    I liked this article because it was about environmental sustainability, which is one of the major issues in the world right now. In this article I learned about desertification and how China is trying to stop it.

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