Well, I said in my last blog that I would be writing at the intersection of public diplomacy and public affairs, but this may be more on the outskirts of both. I am addressing the novel attempts at keeping Bosque de Chapultapec (Chapultapec Park) clean as a means to provide the choked, polluted Mexico City with some breathable air (Pub Health) via Public Diplomacy. Mexico City is one of the most polluted cities in the world, some days a grey-almost tan haze covers the city. You can see this in the picture below, I did nothing to doctor the photos, it is really that smoggy.
Bosque de Chapultapec is a sprawling verdant green park area in the heart of Mexico City, dotted with fine museums and the Chapultapec Castle- the former stomping grounds of the Spanish Viceroys and Emperor Maximilian, as well as a military academy and host to major battle in the Mexican-American War in 1847. The 400 hectare park serves as the lungs for the city, and as such, those lungs need to be protected.
While I was walking up to visit the castle, I saw a band of performers dressed in costumes that resembled trashcans, as well as actors in doctors clothing. Curious, I stopped and watched the performance for a bit and chatted with the actors about their project.
I chatted with “Dr Lurias,” the white labcoat and large spectacle-sporting physician. Dr Lurias mentioned that they were a project sponsored by CICEANA (The Center for Information, Communication and Environmental Education in North America- translated), the troupe was performing educational theater to teach people to care for and respect the resource that is Bosque de Chapultapec. The aforementioned association is a civic organization that has been working for 5 years teaching environmental education. The costumed troupe, an independent theater group called “Ecolurias,” does theatric interventions to educate the people on the importance of and how to maintain the gift that is Bosque de Chapultapec.
I also found out the the two girls in different colored trashcans were meant to teach people the difference in organic and inorganic refuse and how to spot the different recepticles for each. While I got it correct in this picture below, on my first attempt, I boffed putting my garbage in the correct bin. Write it off to my gringohood and being colorblind. But I quickly learned which was the correct bin for each type of garbage.
Ecolurias can be found on various social networking sites like Facebook, YouTube and their blog. They are performing an important aspect of educational public diplomacy to further public health in city that really needs increased understanding of environmental protection if it is to continue to function.