[01/11/2006] Environmental pact unites MST settlement and neighboring community

In 2004, rural workers living in 20 settlements on the Pirituba Ranch located in the Itapeva region, southeast of São Paolo, realized that they needed to take a different approach to caring for their lands — an approach that would also preserve the environment. During the Regional Settlements Forum, motions were proposed including: improving the treatment of the soil, diversifying the commercialization of products, and establishing an environmental pact.

Among the objectives of the environmental pact were the reduction of the use of agrotoxins, elimination of the use of fire, re-forestation of degraded areas, and preservation of springs at the source of rivers. Following the objectives of the pact, a core group from each settlement was made responsible for putting the pledges into practice. For example the core group from Agrovila III began to develop a community garbage collection program and the production of propane gas from the by-products of raising pigs.

The first attempt to recuperate the spring feeding the Lavrinha River took place in July of 2005. This river begins in one of the settlements and supplies water to the city of Itaberá. The effort was made possible by the participation of members of the settlement, as well as members of Sem Terrinha who form part of the core group called Che Guevara.

At the end of 2005, work done to recuperate the springs gained momentum and the support of other groups concerned with restoring the area near the Lavrinha River. On the 21st of December, children, educators, members of the settlement, and of the Associated Friends of Itaberá (AMAI) collaborated to perform the second planting of trees on the banks of the river.

One of the goals for 2006 is to combine consciousness-raising with the ongoing restoration work performed by the members of the settlement and those living in Itaberá. Another idea is to include small-scale farmers living on the edges of the river in the restoration efforts and transform the work into instructional material for local city schools.

Translated by Friends of the MST volunteer Amy Catelani

In Portuguese –
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