We gave our first presentations in Puerto Natales to a class of 17 year olds, a group of 12-13 year olds, their teachers and the government envirnment officer. Incredibly we uttered it in spanish. A baptism in fire, with a mix of palpitations and horror, sprinkled with ample laughs.
The target topic was “ecosystem services”; pinpointing with the students some of the key benefits humans derive from functioning ecosytems, such as: clean air and water, pollination, medicines, food, resources… the list goes on.
We also covered three of the main environmental problems in Puerto Natales: rubbish and subsequent pollution of water courses and land, as well as “contamaination” of tourists’ pristine Patagonia image; feral and unwanted dogs and over-grazing- causing soil erosion, loss of native woodlands and shrubs etc.
Solutions included refusing the ubiquitous plastic bag, spaying/castrating of stray dogs, “quality, not quantity” of livestock and fencing off streams to allow regeneration of plants and clean water courses. Simple solutions to some insidious problems.
Thank you so much to Vicky and Claudia for helping to organise this and for all you help in Puerto Natales. Also to Pilar and Javier for being such energetic teachers!