Young people are finding their voice when it concerns the future of our planet and the impact we are having on it. I spoke to 12-year-old Maria Calva and her 10-year-old sister Isabel Calva, about their thoughts on animals and the environment. Maria and Isabel were born in Guanajuato but have lived in Playa for the last nine years.
They both attend Manuel Acosta School where the curriculum covers natural sciences and includes annual days out to learn about local wildlife and their environment. It was the first school to take up the offer of free class visits to El Acuario de Playa, a new aquarium facility in Playa. Here they learned more about ways of saving our oceans and how to protect marine life.
Once a year the school also has a Día de Mascotas (Pets Day) when children are invited to bring their pets to school. The day before, a veterinary guest speaker comes to talk to the children about pet care and encourages adoption rather than buying a pet. The school has some permanent guests – seven agoutis, related to the guinea pig family, but with larger bodies and longer legs, which the children learn to care for and feed.
Maria and Isobel have had pets all their lives, including turtles, fish, and cats. Recently 2-year-old Meche, who was the runt of a litter, was brought home by their father as a puppy. Isabel was delighted to receive two hamsters for her last birthday, she had wanted them for a long time. But first she had to show that she was responsible by spending a year helping with Meche and doing chores in the house. Ciao and Aloha, the two hamsters, were her reward!
I asked each of the girls what they wanted to do to help in the future. Maria replied “Every time I go to the beach I want to take away any rubbish I find. I see people throwing plastic bottles into the sea and I feel sad.” Isabel told me “I want to try and stop people hunting animals for fun and doing stupid things. If they continue, more animals will become extinct.” Strong but true words from a 10-year old and a 12-year old and a sign of hope.