Stories of Education

In-depth (based on site visits with extensive interviews)

  • We hope to offer detailed stories about Education in the near future

Capsule (shorter pieces which appear below)

  1. ChinaLeadership Training and Cooperation for Sustainable Community Development – The Harmony Foundation of Canada educates Chinese mayors and community residents for sustainable development.
  2. EnglandMud Between Your Toes – The Eden Project offers programs to reconnect kids with nature.

China – Leadership Training and Cooperation for Sustainable Community Development

Since 1985 the Harmony Foundation of Canada has provided educators and community leaders with innovative programs and materials for sustainable community development.  In 2006 it launched the Program for Leadership Training and Cooperation for Sustainable Community Development in China.  The program’s mission is to train mayors, other local leaders and community residents to work together to protect public health and the environment while providing opportunity for rapidly growing urban populations.  In cooperation with the Environmental Management College of China and other institutions, the program has achieved the following accomplishments:

  • Trained 110 Chinese mayors with National Training Center for Mayors of China and developed framework curriculum for increased training and training of other senior local officials
  • Trained more than 400 community residents resulting in local projects including waste reduction, youth education, cooking oil recycling, and a framework for increased training
  • Published and distributed a Chinese language version of Harmony’s Community Action Workshop Manual
  • Published and distributed a Chinese language version of Harmony’s Green Cities: a Guide for Sustainable Community Development
  • Trained 60 Environmental Protection Bureau managers and developed a framework curriculum for expansion of training
  • Developed a “train the trainers” program to increase the pool of qualified facilitators
  • Conducted conferences/workshops on sustainable community development for leading Chinese NGO’s and academics
  • Consulted with key government agencies, colleges and universities and recognized leaders in sustainable community development in China and formed an advisory council
  • Conducted a leadership training demonstration at the World Urban Forum 4 in Nanjing
  • Made a presentation to the Canada-China Business Council
  • Collaborated with the City of Kunming on water stewardship
  • Collaborated with Xiaoguan sub-district of Beijing on energy and water conservation

Major program outcomes anticipated for 2009-2011 include:

  • Publication of Chinese case studies and success stories in sustainable community development
  • Establishment of curriculum, training and trainers for 1) mayors and other senior local officials, 2) environmental protection bureau managers, 3) community group leaders and local residents
  • Establishment of train the trainers program and curriculum for trainers
  • Establishment of Center for Leadership Training and Cooperation for Sustainable Community Development in China, with Board and Advisory Council comprised of Chinese and international leaders
  • Presentations of program and demonstrations of training including World Exposition in Shanghai, 2010
  • Formalization of alliances for Center with business, local government, colleges and universities and civil society organizations established during project into ongoing collaboration in China and internationally
  • Establishment of community demonstration projects in water stewardship, energy conservation, sustainable transportation, local food security, environmental health and safety, clean air, waste reduction, green procurement, etc. and incorporation into Center’s mandate and operations

With 20% of the world’s population driving history’s fastest growing economy, China’s development decisions greatly influence economic stability, human and environmental health and security around the world.  It is essential to provide economic opportunity for rapidly growing urban populations while empowering citizens and protecting the environment and public health.  Building civil society capacity, public participation, open local governance and multi-sector cooperation is essential to achieving sustainable communities, as is the application of clean technology, products and services.  The Center for Leadership Training and Cooperation for Sustainable Community Development in China will continue building invaluable relationships in science, education, urban management, local governance and trade.

This is just a small part of Harmony Foundation’s Building Sustainable Societies program.  For more information—including a list of publications and educational resources for action in communities, homes, workplaces, and schools—visit

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England – Mud Between Your Toes

  • Author: Eric Schneider
  • Posted: March 2009

Children are spending less and less time outside. Not only are they missing out on a whole world of fun, adventure and really cool games, but there are some serious knockon effects including health problems, poor social development and little understanding or interest in the environment.

That’s why the Eden Project has launched a program to combat the increasing alienation of children from their environment. We call it Mud Between Your Toes because its aim is to reconnect children with the outside world – and that involves learning to love the mud.

Why focus on children?

  • By 2010 one in five children will be clinically obese
  • The government says lack of play is as damaging as junk food
  • Children are suffering from depression and are being treated with anti-depressants
  • A generation that doesn’t understand or value the natural world will not strive to protect it
  • A generation that doesn’t value society won’t work together to save it

Current Mud Between Your Toes activities consist of:

  • Schools programs exploring local wildlife places
  • Outdoor activities and survival skills courses run by Eden and the Bishop’s Forum Activity Centre
  • A major research program to promote nature based play
  • Den building activities at Eden

Eden is a place of beauty and wonder which explores humankind’s dependence on natural resources. You will find crops, landscapes and wild plants which reflect the amazing diversity of our planet. There’s also internationally famous architecture and art which draw inspiration from nature; and a stage on which people working to make our world a better place can tell their stories.

Ten years ago this place was a barren, exhausted china clay pit. Now its massive Biomes (one of which is the biggest greenhouse in the world) and millions of plants bear witness to what can be achieved by a can-do attitude and the tenacity of the human spirit. Eden is as potent a symbol of hope for the future as one could find anywhere on earth.

Simple pleasures await you here too: imaginative children’s play areas, impromptu storytelling, workshops for all ages, a wide choice of delicious food, a shop full of amazing stuff from all over the world – and just sniffing the flowers, of course.

For more information go to

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