Today we welcomed a group of international visitors to Hawkesdale College – guest speakers from India, America and Ecuador. Mela is a sanskrit word for large gathering, festival or celebration. These visitors have come to Hamilton to participate in an international, intercultural event; and we had the opportunity to hear international community activists, researchers, scholars and practitioners talking about the sustainability of local communities across the world. Their presentastions were about the practical local responses to food production, climate change and a sustainable future.
“Carlos Zorrilla is the founder and executive director of DECOIN – a grassroots non-government organisation dedicated to the conservation of the cloud forests of the Intag region of northern Ecuador. Carlos is a 30 year resident of the region, and has dedicated his life to the pursuit of ecologically sustainable human inhabitation of one of planet earth’s most important biological niches. He is an active promoter of critical water-shed projects, organic crops, a shade-grown coffee cooperative, eco-tourism, and economies built around local production and consumption. Carlos has lectured at universities in Japan, Canada and the United States. He has presented before the OECD in Paris on corporate ethics, and is recognized as one of the world’s leading ecologists.” Carlos showed a powerful presentation about the local community response to a copper mine in Ecuador. You can help Carlos here.
Robin Nicholas, a Health and Safety expert, worked in the computer room with the 9/10 ICT class. He has produced video and print media for a diverse range of employees in different industries. He explained to students how to draw together ideas for stories about a town or farm and how to produce a profile of themselves.
“Venkatesan Kaviyarasan (Kavi) is a mushroom expert, a professor of mycology from Madras University, Chennai, South India. Kavi spends much of his life, when he is not teaching, identifying and protecting fungi species for biodiversity and sustainabilityn of fragile environments. He works with local communities in the Tamil Nadu area, and particularly with a tribal community whose livelihood has been impacted by large-scale resource extractions.” Kavi spoke about his relatives and friends, people who live in a small group of villages that have been affected by deforestation and mining.
“Thangavelu Vasantha Kumaran (TV) is a Professor of geography and head of the Geography Department at Madras University, Chennai, South India. TV has done substantial research and community work, particularly in areas of traditional ecological knowledge systems, sustainable development and community development planning in South India. He has also conducted several workshops and training programs on issues relating to the fields of medical geography, natural resource management, geographical information systems and their applications in water resource analysis and management; particularly irrigation and irrigation management, and community development planning.” TV spoke about how the village temple is the centre of the community in India, where religous ceremonies are frequent and colourful. Town planning documents over 3,000 years old have dictated the pivotal importance of the temple.