The week of April 22, 2012, Alianza Arkana teamed up with the office of Social and Economic Development for the municipality of Iparía and the Italian NGO Terra Nouva to offer five days of educational activities in recognition of our Mother Earth, the first of many more annual celebrations of International Earth Day for the District. Over three days, 16 educational workshops were given in the Primary and Secondary schools in Iparia, and the Secondary School in the neighboring Shipibo community of Vista Alegre.
Following the plan of our nationally recognized Zero-Waste Management program, which we recently initiated in the District Capital of Iparía and its three neighboring communities, these workshops focused on identifying waste classifications and culminated in the clean up of each educational institution.
All the students created a human chain and walked their schoolyard, collecting all the plastic and other materials they could find. Afterward, each class separated all they had collected, filling Eco-Bricks with non-recyclable plastics and organizing the recyclable materials.
These activities set the stage for the Big Inter-Community Clean Up on Saturday April 21st, where the District Capital of Iparía, along with its neighboring Shipibo communities of Nuevo Peru and Vista Alegre, and the small colonial settlement of 26 de Noviembre each took part in cleaning their communities.
Like the school clean ups, each community was responsible for separating their materials and filling Eco-Bricks. Here the children had the opportunity to teach their parents what they had learned in school through our educational workshops.
The following day we passed through each community and evaluated their work for a series of prizes donated by Terra Nouva, the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research (ACEER), the National Institute for Agrarian Innovation (INIA), the District Municipality of Iparía, and Alianza Arkana. The Shipibo community of Nuevo Perú won with an amazing collaborative effort by the whole community, embodying in every sense of the word our hope for a New Peru.
In addition, each evening there was a cinema presentation of environmental education films outside of the municipal office for children and adults. This also gave us opportunities to further promote our Zero-Waste Management program.
Earth Day in Iparía began with a celebratory rising of the flags and speeches from the radio announcer from Institutional Image, the Director of Social and Economic Development – Cesar Galan Orbe, and myself, Brian Robert Best – Director of Community Based Solutions for Alianza Arkana. I was also invited to help raise the flag for Peace on this special day.
The flag raising was then followed by a march of civic pride with all of the students, municipal workers, and community organizations marching full step to the secondary school marching band. Below the blistering sun of an Amazonian pre-storm heat wave, the primary and secondary students then went and collected their signs they had made in school for a community-wide march for their Mother Earth.
After the parade the clouds came down from the Andean foothills to the west and the sky broke open. The rain flooded the newly cleaned streets with water, an appropriate message from our Great Mother of her awesome life-giving power on her special day.
These activities in celebration of Earth Day represented the first steps of initiating our Zero-Waste Management program in these communities. We will be working collaboratively with the Municipality of Iparía to train their Waste Collection staff and organize their Zero-Waste Collection and Treatment service in the coming months.
All of us at Alianza Arkana applaud the initiative and efforts of their Mayor Pedro Saldaña Balarezo together with Cesar Galan Orbe. And a collective thank you to all the participating organizations and institutions.
Happy Earth Day,
First posted, Friday, 04 May 2012