What We Do
The Shangri-la Institute for Sustainable Communities is designed to facilitate community-empowerment by providing opportunities for communities to extensively participate in sustainable development through the following methods:
Strengthening the Capacity of Local Communities
Enabling communities to put themselves on a sustainable development path involves strengthening their capacity for change. SISC does this through many different initiatives including the provision of training; the implementation of community initiated development projects; and promotion of gender equality. All equip local people with relevant knowledge, skills and values via reflection and action on more sustainable ways of living. Social learning platforms include Community Entrepreneurship Courses; Environmental Protection Courses; and Indigenous Knowledge Revitalization Workshops; run in partnership with Diqing Vocational School for Ethnic Minorities.
Acknowledging Traditional Sustainable Lifestyles
For generations indigenous communities on the Tibetan Plateau and along the Yangtze River have developed and practiced lifestyles and belief systems that draw upon an intimate knowledge of local ecology. Modern forms of development erode such lifestyles and beliefs and substitute less sustainable alternatives. SISC therefore encourages people to rediscover and conserve local indigenous knowledge and apply elements that they consider relevant to contemporary forms of sustainable development.
Protecting the Environment
Communities will support forms of environmental protection and sustainable development that they themselves have determined and that are in their own interests. In its community programme, SISC therefore integrates environmental protection with income generation activities to build sustainable livelihoods. Initiatives include developing eco-tourism; training nature reserve staff; and installing such renewable energy sources as hydropower, biogas, and solar heating. Our Water School for a Living Yangtze programme empowers young people and local communities to engage in sustainable water resource management.
Disseminating Experiences and Influencing Policy
SISC acts as a clearing house for collecting and disseminating sustainable development concepts, principles and approaches, by drawing on project experiences and community learning outcomes. Links with the wider sustainable development community (NGOs, governments at all levels, academic institutions, enterprises, etc) through the communication and publication of this knowledge, supported by such events as conferences and community forums, are designed to extend the theory and practice of education for sustainable development and influence policy within China and beyond.
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