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Celebrating Earth Day in Kunming

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Since its modest inception in 1970, Earth Day has grown to become a globally recognized observance, commemorated each year on April 22. Kunming has played host to such events in the past, often with the focus on fitness and lessening people's dependence on automobiles.

This year something a bit different is planned. Running with an idea first cooked up by Sander Van de Moortel of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Green Drinks Kunming, together with non-profit fun-generation machine Cultural Diving, have organized a day of activities centered around how the average Spring City resident can contribute to a cleaner, more vibrant and eco-friendly Kunming. All this while also raising delicious home-grown food. GoKunming is a proud sponsor of this event.

Sander's original idea was to to teach people how to do urban beekeeping in order to boost urban populations, and thus raise awareness of declining populations across the globe. Known as colony collapse disorder, the phenomenon menacing bees is a serious threat to the way food is pollinated and grown. Although the Earth Day program as originally imagined has changed somewhat, it will still focus on bees and how we as individuals can do our part to help them out.

Toward a greener, healthier Kunming

Ben Underwood, who is currently running a project to turn Kunming's food waste into bus fuel, and Robin Luo, cofounder of Cultural Diving, have organized an afternoon involving lectures and a workshop revolving around sustainable urban gardening practices. They will host Ingredients for a Livable City: How to Make Life in Kunming Even Better, which involves three 20-minute talks introducing and explaining the concepts behind urban ecology and what you can do to establish a thriving rooftop garden.

Seminar 1: Flowers, Bees and Urban Ecology by Jonathan Teichroew. Jonathan is an agricultural consultant and pollination management PhD candidate at the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is also good source for Yunnan natural raw honey.

Seminar 2: Urban Gardening How To by James Osborne and Jay Sturley. James grew up in a passionate gardening and beekeeping family and has an educational background of environmental studies. Jay has set up balcony and rooftop vegetable gardens wherever his travels take him, including in Seoul, Bangkok, Phnom Penh and now Kunming.

Seminar 3: A Beginner's Guide to Urban Beekeeping by Kasey McQueen. Kasey has been raising bees and maintaining a hive in Kunming for the past three years.

Workshop: A hands-on explanation of building a rooftop shade trellis for cheap, potting plants to put under it and how to make those plants thrive. Participants will take home their own starter plant.

Where, when and how

Ingredients for a Livable City will be held April 18 from 2-4pm. No, it isn't actually on Earth Day, but organizers believe that by hosting on a Saturday, instead of during the work week, more people will be able to attend and take advantage of the seminars.

The event will take place at the Cultural Diving Studio, located at 118 Qing Nian Lu, room 0601 inside the Cherry Blossom Grand View (樱花丽景). Entry is 20 yuan, which will be put toward the cost of materials. All are welcome to attend but make sure to RSVP by contacting hello[at]culturaldiving[dot]net. We hope to see you there.

Top image: Yereth Jansen
Bathtub image: Pinterest
Bee image: The Next Corner

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Is any of this going to take place on a rooftop garden or outdoors?

@AlexKMG, for sure. The seminars will be inside, but the workshop will happen on a rooftop — Jay will demonstrate how to turn it into a garden.

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