2007 Advanced Bioregional Class: Contamination of Soil and Water

Ramon’s Weekly Report #5

Advanced Bioregionalism Education
Autumn Session 2007

November 7th, 8th & 9th  

As we always do, we met in the park and the theme this time was contamination of soil and water.  We made a circle and began to talk about the importance of water and soil for life.  Then I explained to the students that just like the atmosphere is contaminated, so are water and soil.  With this in mind, it’s important to understand how they are polluted. 

Water is considered polluted when it is no longer suitable for consumption by living beings.  In some cases, contamination has been accidental, but mostly it is directly related to industrial growth.  Urban run off and waste waters contaminate fresh water.  Residues from industries and factories run into rivers and from the rivers into the ocean.  This contamination affects all living organisms.

To drink potable water in Bahia, we have to buy bottled water, and even that isn’t always properly treated. 

The soil is also important and intimately related to water since without water there is no agricultural production.  Contaminated soil produces contaminated crops which aren’t suitable to eat.  Poor agricultural practices can also contaminate soil.  One of the greatest threats to soil quality is the erosion of the top soil, which is rich in humus and nutrients for plants.

On Thursday a group of bioregionalistas from the class went to San Vicente to participate in an open house.  We presented on the theme of Bioregions.  We had two posters with pictures of work from the bioregionalism classes and gave a PowerPoint presentation.  

Unfortunately our computer crashed during the presentation, but aside from that, the open house went very well. 

Friday the bio-detectives made a trip around Bahia, documenting the large amount of solid wastes along the way.  The majority of which was found in different rainwater drainages.  We were accompanied by two Planet Drum volunteers, Michelle and Lillian.

Stagnant waters with oil residues were found. 

 The students made videos and took pictures with digital cameras of what they saw.  They asked me questions along the way and commented that most of the garbage was found on the hills.  The garbage in the rainwater runoff will eventually find its way into the sea and could be confused for food by marine animals which would then be harmed or killed.

In conclusion, the students noted that there should be a neighborhood cleanup and that people should be made aware of their responsibility to dispose of garbage properly.     

Afterwards we played three games, led by Michelle and Lillian.  The games were related to the theme of pollution.  

We all had a good time playing the games, especially the students.

Translated by Clay.

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