Welcome to another week of updates and inspirations. Inside you’ll find two stories of the struggles of Native Americans - one is to take back their food system and another is to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Beyond that maybe you’ll get inspired to create a rain garden or plant more fruit trees in your next workcamp!
Decolonizing food access for Native Americans
Even in a wealthy country like the US, access to nutritious food can be close to impossible for some people. In general Native Americans of the US live in vast and sparsely populated reservation areas, which often lack typical infrastructure like grocery shops. Instead access is easier to fast food serving gas stations. Many people started eating unhealthy, after their ancestors got disconnected from their traditional diet during the colonization period.
If you are thinking of starting a community garden or would like to support one… or maybe even you just want to make the front lawn of your SCI office more interesting, consider building a rain garden! They are relatively simple constructions which retain water (but don’t create mosquito breeding puddles) and filter it thanks to deep-rooted native plants. You can read about more benefits on the Rain Garden Network web page and follow their 10-step instructions.
Back to the trees
Trees can provide income to families, who grow them on their land. Additionally the right tree species are more resistant to the climate shifts and extreme weather than traditional crops. In some African countries trees were forgotten, because they are not traditionally part of European agriculture - a model which was imposed on local farmers. It’s as simple as that - in your next workcamp plant more trees! “How to boost rural incomes in Africa? Plant more trees” (Thomson Reuters Foundation).
Landfill building in Mangkang (Indonesian International Work Camp) Mangkang, Indonesia is a fisher and farmer village, which is a frequent site of activities done by IIWC. The main activity of this workcamp focused on building a waste disposal site. It was done as gotong royong, or community service, by the volunteers along with the locals. Volunteers also organized an info action for local mothers, explaining basic rules of waste management and encouraging them to join the “Less Plastic Day On Monday” programme. In the promotional action participants were exchanging homemade orange water for plastic bags.
The volunteer group, assisted by local farmers and university students, also planted 2000 mangrove seeds to prevent coastal erosion. Over 1 km of coastline in the area is in danger due to erosion, heavy river flows and cutting mangroves by local people. The trees not only provide a natural defense to sea abrasion, but also allow more biodiversity in the area. The local community is protected from the sea, but also benefits economically, thanks to the fish that comes back to the Mangkang area to live in the mangroves.
For many people involved, planting mangroves was a completely new experience. “I feel that this camp was so good and fun!”, said Nouval, participant from Surabaya, Indonesia. It was a really busy 5 days!
Co-Funded by the Erasmus plus programme of the European Union.
The Association of Service Civil International ivzw receives support from the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe.
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