Running an environmental program and rescuing a sloth

After almost two decades raising the ecological awareness of people living around our Paraíba mine, the Cristal Mineração Environmental Education Program has welcomed around 10,000 visitors, mainly elementary school pupils with appropriate themes for teenagers and their educational levels.

Virgílio Pinto, who heads the mine’s environmental department and coordinates the environmental awareness program, explains that the latter’s current format was designed in 1999, but it has been improved over the years. Information provided during visits is not only educative but also helps young people think what they should do in everyday situations. An environmental educator greets students arriving at the mine and screens an institutional video covering everyday issues that even adults are often unable to handle.

“There are talks and discussions of themes related to real life here. The idea is not just to sensitize visitors, we want to show them how to act as well. The issues most addressed relate to what happens to urban waste, animal trafficking and preservation of natural resources. We also show them the collections in the mine’s museum so that people become familiar with historical pieces,” he adds.

To retain ideas and build on content learned in the classroom, young people hike trails during their visits, which shows them how complex and fragile ecosystems are of great ecological, economic and social importance. Virgílio adds that “participants learn about quarantine facilities for wild animals kept in captivity by Brazil’s Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) and see the nurseries producing native seedlings used by the mined area recovery program.”

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