Taking responsibility through learning about the environment
Since 1982 APECO (Asociación Peruana para la Conservación de la Naturaleza) is engaged for the environment in Peru. The team of biologists, sociologists, psychologists and many supporting co-workers takes researches on little known or endangered species. With local and national governments APECO supports the declaration of protected areas and rises awareness for environmental issues within the population.
Peru is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, inhabiting 1800 bird species, which are more than in Northern America and Europe together. Like in other developing countries, the exploitaition of natural resources is of great economic significance. Since the arrival of the Spanish almost 500 years ago, Peru is a traditional land of exploitation, until today. The role of mining is exceptional, the gold mine Yanacocha near the traditional city Cajamarca, is the biggest of its kind. There are hundreds of others, some big ones, and plenty of small, illegal ones, that show even less repect towards environmental regulations.
Apart from the mining industry there are the intensive fishery for fish meal, the deforestation to get the last tropical woods like Mahagoni, and also the conveying of natural gas plays and increasingly important role.
Despite the fact that most of the profit is gained by foreign companies, most Peruvians are happy about the economic growth in their country, that is nourished by resource exploitation. The long-term effects are not considered, first of all the destruction of one of the most important Peruvian treasures right next to the diverse culture: The country’s incredible beauty and fertility. Not all Peruvians are the same and there various efforts towards a sustainable development, like the eco-turism.
Anthroposophy for environmental protection? – The environmental organization APECO tries, especially in the field of environmental education, through holistic appealing activities to rouse the human being’s interest for its environment. This can be done in a school garden, where the students enjoy harvesting, sowing seeds and creating something new. In the classroom the students can be promoted in many aspects through a theoretical and a practical part with artistical elements. This way the protection of the environment is not just a simple repetition of facts, but songs, stories, drawings, work in the garden, other projects and becomes a life experience.
Exactly this realizes Susana Moller, biologist, APECO member and Waldorf teacher in Lima and Toronto. She is mentor for the German volunteers, that come since 2008 through the German organization “Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiners e.V.” Together with Susana Moller the volunteers conduct environmental activities at schools, work with local communities, or do workshops for students and teachers and reach over 1000 people each year.
The creation of networks among teachers and students shall support the exchange of ideas and create iniciatives gradually independent from APECO’s help.
The next big step of this successful and much needed work is the building of a volunteer house, where there is not only place for volunteer rooms, but also finally permanent seminar rooms for the workshops. In addition the house will be a model of sustainable house building and therefore be pioneer in Peru.