“So is there any hope living in the city?” an audience asked at one of the events.
Living in metropolitan Shanghai, the center of economic development, the incubator of creativity, and the future of technology, people are also living in stress. With the overwhelming information and fast changing trends that keep pushing us, we want someone to tell us—there is hope in the city.
Shared by Andy, the five words he summarized from the book can be the takeaway practice in our urban life. Gentle. Small. Humble. Slow. Simple. Something we can take the first step to try.
To be honest, I was quite curious how Andy’s talk, which is about sustainability, about our future, can turn out at the elementary school of Fu Dan International School.
“Our world is in danger. We are in danger.” The truth was revealed to the kids dressed in all colors of summer clothes. There was no need for us to tell them. They knew. They understood the environmental problems and crisis we are having—overfishing, trees being overcut, the ghost floating trash left in the ocean that is killing the wild sea creatures.
The kids had their hands rising up in the sky. They were so eager to learn about these stories that Andy shared; they were the lucky ones who had plenty of time to create art and music that they loved, and they wanted to see the Japanese art work and hear the flute melodies; they had endless questions and imagination about Andy and Cynthia’s wooden handmade house and the encounters they had in their backyard.
“Where did you live when you built the house?”
“What kind of animals have you seen near the house?”
“If you cut trees to build your house, doesn’t that destroy the forest?”
I think this is the answer to our hope living in the city. Or at least the reason we need to fill our heart with hope to continue what we do. The kids truly believe the existence of woodpeckers, frogs, and bobcats. They are around us, not just in the zoo. Their belief in art creation and natural world is a message for us to keep the world alive. One dad shared his thought during one of the conversations, “kids nowadays are so adaptive in different environment. They are happy in nature. They are happy in the city as well.” That’s a good balanced life and an encouraging message to hear. If we do have the hope, shouldn’t this be more sustainable and last longer? Before we hand by hand destroy the happiness in the city or in nature, we still need to collectively make more conscious choices to slow the process and delay the day to come.