The Tibetan village of Zhonglu in the Gyalrong region of Garze Prefecture in southwestern China has a history going back thousands of years. The ancient trails running through the village were once their lifelines, supporting the economic and cultural well-being of the village. The most important products and livelihoods in the village depended on the trails.
However, because of the impact of modernization, younger generations are leaving the village for bigger cities, causing the original tightly-knit community to unravel. Without a strong community, local residents have been neglecting the traditional values, culture, and natural environment that were once important to them. One result of this is that the ancient trails, the old lifelines of the village, are falling into disrepair and disuse. This leads to the deterioration of traditional village life and cohesion, as well as the destruction of the environment around the old trails. These old trails are like the central veins in a human body; the blockage of these veins is causing Zhonglu Village to gradually lose its self-sustaining way of life.
Meanwhile, the unique culture and beautiful natural environment makes Zhonglu an ideal holiday destination tourists looking to escape the city. Tourism has become one of the most important industries in the village. But the way traditional mass tourism uses local natural resources for commercial goals is not done in a sustainable way. This creates many negative impacts in the village, such as degrading the rural landscape and damaging relationships between villagers.
Our project involves a series of workshops focusing on repairing the trails using traditional methods, an eco-tourism package designed around the theme of ancient trails, and finally, training local communities around the trail to participate in eco-tourism. By doing so, we will actively support this village to revitalize their community and engage in a culturally and environmentally sustainable form of tourism. This in turn will enable the residents of Zhonglu Village to pass on their cultural heritage and wisdom while living in harmony with the environment.
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