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Crystal water world through kids' eyes: Preface, July 21, 2014 Adjust font size:

On behalf of the Shangri-la Institute, I proudly present the selected works of art by students participating in Swarovski’s Water School China programme. For me, the beautiful images are refreshing and encouraging like a cool breeze on a hot summer day.

A Chinese proverb says: ‘Children are angels, and the youth is the hope.’ Children have bright eyes and to them the world is transparent. They innocently look into the future with a fascination that has yet to be clouded by their adult years. Out of the hearts of children, a clear spring flows to wash away the crude materialism of the world. Their breath works like a sweet light wind to wake up those who are older and more jaded from their slumber of self-made confusion. As the children understand it, the world should be clean and pleasant; it should be alive with green grass under a blue sky; its people should live in peace with the singing birds and the blossoming flowers.

Seeing what we have done to our earth, it is clear that this is still a dream. Now the honest voices of children are making an appeal, they have painted the future with their own hands. Let their dream come true. The younger generation and the future generations should have the right to live in a world of harmony with a healthy, natural planet.

The paintings represent the dreams and hopes of children from Swarovski Water School for a Living Yangtze Programme. Implemented by the Shangri-la Institute for Sustainable Communities, the project is in its 6th year of engaging teachers and students from 59 Water Schools along the River Yangtze Basin. Together, they are singing songs of the river as it flows across China to the Pacific ocean, sharing our water-friendly ideas with the broader public along the way. Through social learning and practice, they carry out activities of river management and water conservation with extensive participation of local communities. Children learn and understand more about their rivers and mountains and grow to love them; they enjoy fulfilling their mission in the embrace of their motherland. The teachers and students themselves become water guardians. Like numerous shining water drops, they come together to become streams and rivers that can wash the land clean and refresh people’s souls. In nature, water takes form as free clouds in the sky, as living rivers on the land, and as crystal glaciers on snow-capped mountains. By nature, the teachers and students are also of this pure water.

Children live their lives like the rising sun. The future is for them, and they are for the future. Sustainable development is a realistic goal and an urgent need; it is a clear objective ahead. We must meet the needs of the present generation without preventing future generations from doing the same. Indeed, consideration for future generations is a central concept that has earth-shaking impacts.

We should answer the children’s appeal. For the sake of the evergreen mountains, the ever-flowing rivers, the diverse world of wild plants and animals, for future generations. Let us all strive to live life in a pure and simple way in harmony with nature.

Xie Peihong, Vice-Director of Shangri-la Institute

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