(This is the final in a series of posts from our Green Alternatives Department that is currently conducting its first China-U.S. Exchange Program. These posts are written by Green Alternatives Department Intern, Antonia Malhi.)

Overlooking the Russian River at the Highland Dell Inn. photo: June Brashares

This past weekend was the final part of our US China Exchange program.  We had planned to spend Saturday around the North Bay wine country, even though are members do not drink they enjoyed the scenic views the area has to offer.  They enjoyed a picturesque dinner and sunset from the deck of the Highland Dell Restaurant on the Russian River.

Sunday morning was an early start and the beginning of the long drive from Sonoma County to Yosemite Park.  Along the drive, we mentioned important environmentally related areas along the way. As we drove through Richmond, we explained how the presence of the Chevron oil refinery has been plaguing the city’s residents with health problems caused by the pollution released into the air.  We also mentioned Global Exchange’s own Antonia Juhasz’s work on the anti Chevron campaign.  A little further down the road, we mentioned how the now Emeryville Bay Street shopping center was once and industrial waste site that underwent brownfield remediation to become the establishment it is today.  When driving through Livermore we were sure to point out the wind turbines and to explain how they provide clean electrical power to Bay Area homes.  Who would have thought that this route was a green route?

Hiking at Yosemite
photo: June Brashares

We made sure to make a quick lunch stop to watch the World Cup final since our members are HUGE soccer fans.  Happy they were able to catch the game, we continued on to Yosemite Valley.  After checking in and some exploration of the park they decided to call it a night.  On Monday, we were able fit in a short hike and made sure to get a photo of our participants hiking with their Global Exchange gear!

Unfortunately, some of our members were called back to China early for work and had to cut their trip short.  After dinner we returned to San Francisco since they had an early flight out the next morning.  We had originally planned to bring them into Global Exchange Tuesday morning to meet the rest of the staff, and then head over to the Global Exchange store for some Fair Trade shopping and a farewell lunch, but because of the unexpected schedule change we couldn’t make it happen.

We wish our participants a safe trip home and thank them for participating in our program.   We are grateful for every one of them and hope they go back to their homes with an understanding on the importance of sustainable living and that their expectations of this trip were met.  We hope to keep in touch and to keep our Global Exchange network updated on the progress they are making related to what they learned on this trip.  Thank you again and we will be in touch soon!