Today marks the start of a week dedicated to acknowledging, dialoguing and initiating debate about the energies of life, particularly solar energy. We are in full production mode! To promote deeper thinking about solar energy and its potential here in Marabá, we will be hanging posters throughout the city, gathering people together in circles of dialogue, and incorporating elements of solar energy into each micro-project. The Gira-Sol workshops focused on solar energy will begin shortly. We have been extremely busy. Last week was packed with meetings for each micro-project along with outreach efforts to spread the word about our events. I never fail to be extremely impressed with the amount of dedication and careful thought Mano and Dan put into each decision they make. They give 110% to the project.
Tomorrow we hit the ground running with the arrival of Dr. Luis Blasques, one of the coordinators of GEDAE, who was kind enough to give me a tour of a solar installation in Belém. Luis’s two-day visit will be fundamental to the next steps in the Gira-Sol solar energy department. Upon his arrival, we will show him around the community and introduce him to the Rios de Encontro project. He will assess the potential installation locations and together we can make decisions on the type and size of the panel, where the materials will be purchased, and who will complete the construction. Luis’s visit will facilitate public discussions about the possibility of alternative energy in Marabá, a conversation that is largely absent at the moment. We have arranged three different opportunities for the residents of Marabá to question and better understand the potential of solar energy in this region. Tomorrow night is the first of three open dialogues about solar energy. This first meeting will be held specifically for the community of Cabelo Seco. On Tuesday morning we will have another meeting for the young people of the community, with games and short films to provoke questions about solar energy and how it’s created. The third meeting will take place Tuesday evening and is open anyone interested: individuals, organizations, social movements, small businesses, professors or technicians. I’m hoping that this meeting will attract and bring together individuals who are interested in learning about alternatives and carving out a different path for Brazil’s future. Tomorrow Brazil will have a new president, and neither one of the candidates running for this position has a notable strategy for the environment.
On Thursday we will begin breaking new ground (literally) on the creation of a community garden in the overgrown yard of the cultural center. This garden is part of the healthy alimentation aspect of Gira-Sol and will be grown in partnership with a small elementary school in Cabelo Seco, with the help of agronomy professors and their undergraduate students. Thursday marks our third meeting and we plan to bring together materials for the garden and finalize the area where it will be located. The garden is the first micro-project that has two adult coordinators, both mothers of young people involved in Rios de Encontro. They will pioneer the medicinal herb section of the garden. In terms of permeating other micro-projects, solar energy has been making its presence known in the community library workshops. This past week, the children were encouraged to draw pictures about the sun and we plan to show them animated video clips concerning energy and electricity. Movies that touch on environmental themes are also being selected for Cine Coruja, a micro-project that coordinates outdoor movie showings in the plaza on Friday and Saturday nights. In the next few English classes, we are hoping to incorporate elements of renewable energy into the activities and vocabulary. This will be especially significant for the young people representing Amazonia in the U.S. next year.
Welcome to a week of Gira-Sol and solar energy!