Pictured above is a poster that promoted the “party” we were throwing, it reads “We invite you to enjoy a meeting at the point (sector the cross) where we will start summer 2017. It will be an instance to share our love for nature through art exhibitions, talks and educational walks.”
We partnered up with the Fundacion de Punta de Lobos for an afternoon while we were in Pichilemu. Before we came to Chile we planned a “little party” on Punta de Lobos to engage with the community. We decided to showcase our groups artistic skills since we had two very skilled ceramic artists (Thanks Robbie and Kat). In the states, we created pendants to make necklaces and raise money for the foundation. The pendants were so cool and unique – there is nothing like hand made goods. So with some time and a little work we made a lot of necklaces from these pendants each with our own character behind the design, shapes and colors we chose. On the day of our party we set up a tent with the foundations logo, laid out of pendants and waited to meet and talk to locals about conserving Punta de Lobos and promoting environmental education.
Along with the foundation and our group, there were other vendors selling goods such as bracelets or hats that they had created. I bought leather bracelets that a man had made right in front of me. He fit the bracelets to my wrist immediately to insure I’d enjoy his product. Others in our group laughed as they tried on winter hats in the middle of a Chilean summer. One vendor who is always selling his goods at the point gave us each a necklace as a gift which I think was the sweetest thing to happen to us that week.
We were all there to help so we set out along the point to collect trash that was discarded. We scaled cliffs and battle cactus to collect as much as we could in hopes that our effort would make a difference. I kept noticing how many cigarette filters there were. I think that flicking a cigarette seems small and insignificant but once they build up they don’t go unnoticed. The cactus act like shields so the trash doesn’t end up in the ocean but I’m sure there is plenty that slipped past their grip.
While we were searching along the cliffs for trash we came across huge mounds of kelp. It was so foreign looking to me that I thought it was rubber rope at first. The kelp was beautiful, thick and black leathery material from the sea. Cascaded along the rocks we looked on in amazement at the kelp. We found a dried piece of kelp that was intertwined with itself. We decided to use this to liven up our vendor table. I think that some Chileans wondered why we had this kelp there but we all loved its dimensions and what it brought to the table. One man saw the kelp and decided to bring us some of the kelp he collected. He gave us two small bundles of kelp wrapped up tight and perfectly. I was thrilled to see this because it was how a local man was using his resources to make a living.
Harvesting seaweed has been a large industry for Chile who was one of the first agar producers in the world. According to the Journal of Applied Phycology, “Chile has succeeded in establishing a sustainable seaweed-harvesting plan for most of the economically important seaweeds.” Chile mainly harvest three different kinds of seaweed called Gracilaria, Lessonia and Macrosystis. These sustainable management plans include regulations to protect not only these three species but the other biodiversity in the system (Rebours et al. 2017). These regulations are important to ensure that the fishermen can harvest what they need but also that the seaweed is healthy and happy in its environment. They also ensure that the populations of this seaweed are not being over harvested.
Our little party ended with a talk about the natural environment in Pichilemu, Chile. We read a poem called Ocean by Pablo Neruda.We read this poem with Los Morros in view, which are the two giant rocks that are used to symbolize Punta de Lobos. These giant rocks broke off from the point and stand as pillars in the middle of the ocean. This poem emphasizes the breath of life that the ocean breathes into Chile. Neruda compares the ocean to a mother over the terrestrial beings with the line “mother salt, mother blood, curve-mother of the water.” The ocean gives life to the land but I believe Neruda says that the country has forgotten about the importance of the ocean. He writes, “For you this glass of foam and lighting becomes lost like a blind albatross.” Perhaps, for Neruda he sees people losing their way from the mother ocean.
Rebours, Céline et al. “Seaweeds: An Opportunity for Wealth and Sustainable Livelihood for Coastal Communities.” Journal of Applied Phycology 26.5 (2014): 1939–1951. PMC. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.
Theodorakis, Mikis, Alexandra Papadjakou, Frangiskos Voutsinos, Loukas Karytinos, and Pablo Neruda. Canto General. Cologne: Intuition Records, 1993. Internet resource.