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.