Janne Robberstad

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CHILE

By spotogspindel | May 6, 2018

I´ve only seen a small part of Chile: Antofagasta. I am here on my GSO-tour, to hold workshops in GSO eco-design (courtesy of HVL) . Antofagasta is one of the most exotic places I´ve visited. Exotic as in strangest. The people here are sweet and nice and have taken such good care of me, and meeting the young girls has been a delight. But the place itself. Maybe it´s because I have read so much about sustainability lately, maybe I wouldn´t have felt the same way five years ago. But this is now. And Antofagasta, with its 300 000 inhabitants, is Chile´s 4th largest city. The landscape is the Pacific ocean on the one hand, and the driest desert in the world on the other hand.

This barren, alien land is the Earth´s equivalent to the moon or Mars, and it is where ESA and NASA come to test out equipment before actually sending it into space. This strip of land, where there hardly is any natural life, a few birds and fish of course, penguins and seals, but hardly any land-animals or flora. Everything is imported and hence artificial in the sense not-belonging-here-naturally. This includes the people of course. A large city, with an equal large need of food, water, resources. To be fair, the temperature is perfect, so there is probably not much need for heating or cooling. But everything else. Not to mention the amount of water needed to keep the city going. The few green trees and bushes planted here (also in constant need of water), are not nearly enough to absorb the CO2 omitted by all the cars. The gentle breeze probably carries it away, and the city doesn´t seem polluted, nor particularly dirty. It´s just… I can´t shake the feeling that this is a clear  example of human nature exploiting nature.

The place is bursting with natural minerals: gold, silver, copper, onyx, marble, and so on. And that is the reason for all these people living here. It´s a bustling mining-town. Man comes in, takes what he wants, leaves what he doesn´t bother to deal with, and nature is the silent looser. This is a town with a negative legacy, speaking in sustainability-terms. It´s not particularly healthy for its inhabitants either. The ozone-layer is thin here, and they hold a world record in cancer-cases. The water and air is polluted, not only with CO2, but with lead and even arsenic. My hosts, who have lived here for 20 and 35 years however, love it. They have gotten used to the place, love their ocean-view, and have good friends and colleagues. It´s a place well-worth visiting, but by all means, if you´re staying outside for more than 15 minutes: use a sun-block!

Nevertheless, Chile banned the plastic bags a couple of months ago, and is such ahead of Norway. Also, I just learned that Chile is soon to be leading in renewable solar-energy, with miles of panels in the desert. I could see them from the plane actually.

But let me take a pause from my pondering, and present some of all the wonderful things I did see and experience! Above are my wonderful new friends. The stage-manager, the choreographer and the costume-desinger of the Fatima dancers of Antofagasta.

My host is the GSO-contact in Chile. She leads her students into your conciseness via a fusion of mysterious moves inspired by the orient, classical ballet, tango and even samba. An elegant teacher, trying to teach her girls self-respect in a still patriotic society. Her girls are a bouquet of shy and giggling girls, of bold and happy girls, of gracious and graceful girls. On stage in shiny costumes, posing with one foot in front of the other, off stage chatting, taking selfies, eager to meet new people, try new things, experience life to the fullest. Below, you can see them dancing.

Beautiful girls, every one of them, and I am so glad I got to meet them, to see them perform, to talk with them, to work with them in the workshops. They are eagerly planning this year´s choreography with their teacher: they will be mermaids and jelly-fish, and they are brainstorming how to include the ocean plastic pollution into the scenario.

A mesmerising detail at the local culture-night with traditional dance and song: the cowboy-boots with some serious spikes!

One of our field-trips went to Eco-Rayen, a privately owned and made center, where everything is built using recycled materials.

Like Sully from Monster Inc. here. Made from plastic Christmas-trees.

We also visited a small village where the Geo Eco Aventur was working to take care of the ancient nature where natives had lived over 5000 years ago. Such a knowledgeable man and such an interesting tour.

Brilliant idea: Every supermarket has a tailor in a kiosk by the entrance/exit. For smaller jobs, you can bring your clothes for a 1-hour fix. So while you are shopping your dinner, a tailor is mending your jeans. How great an idea is that?!

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This trip has been my first visit to the Southern hemisphere, and my countries-visited map now looks like this:

Which country should be next on my wish-list?

Topics: Global Science Opera, travel | 1 Comment »

One Response to “CHILE”

  1. Siri Says:
    May 7th, 2018 at 17:45

    Kanskje du skulle tatt en tur til Grønnland og lært om klærne til inuittene?

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