RCE Galicia - 2020


The Droplet and Wagtail Puppet Show (on the impacts of mining)
Basic Information
Title of project : 
The Droplet and Wagtail Puppet Show (on the impacts of mining)
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Galicia
Contributing organization(s) : 
Fundação Montescola, Axóuxere, Sociedade Histórica e Cultural Coluna Sanfins, Comunidade do Monte Vizinhal em Mão Comum de Frojám
Non-RCE organizations: Guerrilla Foundation, Rianxo Municipal Council, ContraMINAcción, Plataforma en Defensa do Mar (PLADEMAR), London Mining Network
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Lucia R. Cao
Organizational Affiliation: 
RCE Galicia and Fundação Montescola
Format of project: 
Audiovisual, Puppetry
Language of project: 
Galician/Portuguese, Spanish, English
Date of submission:
Monday, October 5, 2020
Additional resources: 
The project builds upon the previous "A mina contamina" project by RCE Galicia:
Safety First: Guidelines for Responsible Mine Tailings Management
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
Address of focal point institution for project: 
Fundação Montescola
Frojám 5, Lousame 15212 (A Corunha)
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Since 2009 a surge of new mining projects has taken place in Galicia after significant rise of metal prices, leading to interest in marginal deposits through so-called "low cost" mining operations. While activists have focused mostly on legal battles and public information, the mining lobby has been attempting to build a “positive” and “sustainable” image of this kind of speculative and low cost mining. To convey this message, mining lobbies have targeted schools, with an explicit focus in conditioning youth to become uncritical and favourable to massive mining in the near future.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
UN Environment’s Global Resources Outlook 2019 warns that "extraction and processing of materials, fuels and food contribute half of total global greenhouse gas emissions and over 90 per cent of biodiversity loss and water stress", while resource extraction has more than tripled since 1970. The rise of metal prices has lead to renewed interest in speculation-driven projects that place little care in how communities and critical resources and services (including freshwater and biodiversity) are placed at risk, destrorying sustainable local livelihoods such as those based on agriculture, forestry and fisheries and sectors dependent on biolcultural heritage.
January, 2020
In 2019 RCE Galicia a series of educational materials to allow for critical engagement in learning about the impacts of mining. RCE Galicia had planned to expand this project by introducing a puppet show for children that would tour the region. The situation with COVID made this tour impossible, so an idea emerged to prepare a filmed puppet show that could be freely used by families during the lockdown and beyond, community groups and schools, in conjunction with previous educational materiales launched in 2019 and alredady made freely available online.

The result is "The Droplet and Wagtail Puppet Show (on the impacts of mining)" that is freely available via Youtube: https://youtu.be/hyRvZyazEQU (with subtitles in English and Spanish; Spanish and English versions soon available) The puppet show is based on the original children’s book “A mina contamina” and tells the story of a drop of rain water that becomes polluted by heavy metals as it falls in and underground mine. The story is told dialogically, in a conversation between the drop and a White wagtail that is warned of the perils of drinking water from the stream, learning about the processes of acid mine drainage and bioaccumulation, but also of the human greed and unsustainability behind mining pollution.
The show is part of the "A mina contamina" social sensitization initiative tackling the environmental and socio-economic impacts of mining extractivism. The need for sensitization and knowledge dissemination regarding ming from alternative points of view that are based on historical and scientific evidence has become crucial considering the intense activity of the mining lobby to create “a favourable state of opinion” that suppresses all the negative impacts caused by extractivism. This programme is the result of the active engagement of environmental educators, primary, secondary and university teachers, environmental activists and historians. By applying the views of education for sustainability (ESD), the programme’s goal is to generate a critical and reactive attitude towards the vision of mining that both the mining lobby and the administration seek to generalize (“Galicia is a mine”). This attitude is to empower society in the defence of its land, health and future.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
The project was based on puppetry theatre, based on previouly developed materials.
Size of academic audience: 
The initial puppet show was released through a restricted video channel (Vimeo) for use by community groups and schools, that provided early feedback. The resource was especially appreciated by families and the wider educational community because of Covid restrictions. The final version was made publicly available on Youtube (https://youtu.be/hyRvZyazEQU) and was viewed 900 times in the first month. The video also prompted interest from communities and groups in other places, with Spanish and English versions being prepared for release.
Lessons learned: 
The project is an example of creativity in the face of the problems faced by families, communities and schools during the COVID pandemic, including prolongued periods of lockdown. Parents and teachers appreciated the accesibility of our earlier materials of "A mina contamina", including the children's book, activities and curriculum guide, and encouraged RCE Galicia to develop an audiovisual resource that could be used for the 6-12 age group. It also made the whole project more autonomous, as the previous plan involved either a chain of plays (that has significant time demands) or a visiting puppetry thetre group to go to educational settings. The audivisual puppet show allows families and schools to work with the educational tools more independently and without more demanding preparations.
Key messages: 
Covid restrictions in Galicia limited the possibilities of outreach with planned ESD activities. This prompted RCE Galicia to develop an audiovisual puppettry show based on 2019 educational materials and projects that could no longer be carried out as planned due to restrictions on public events and closed schools. The alternative proved an excellent way to actually reach out much further than initially planned.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
The project builds upon the 2019 RCE Galicia project "A mina contamina" that included:

1. DIDACTICAL UNITS. Two didactical/curriculum units were created and made available: one focused on the 6-12 age range (roughly primary education, with 19 pp.) and another one focused for the +12 range (including secondary education and adult learning, with 52 pp.). Both didactical units have versions in Galician and Portuguese available. Both include a justification for adult facilitators and are built around four phases: 1. motivation and sensitization; 2. research and knowledge; 3. reflection and criticism; and 4. action and communication. Learning objectives are defined as well as the contents, attitudes, values and norms to be adquired.

2. CHILDREN’S STORY BOOK. “A mina contamina” children’s book (58 pp.) is intended to be used in formal learning environments through the didactic unit, but also independently (i.e., by parents at home). The book tells the story of a drop of rain water that becomes polluted by heavy metals as it falls in and underground mine. The story is told dialogically, in a conversation between the drop and a white wagtail (Motacilla alba) that is warned of the perils of drinking water from the stream, learning about the processes of acid mine drainage and bioaccumulation, but also of the human greed and unsustainability behind mining pollution. The book also includes 10 proposed activities, that can be done at home (self-guided or with parents) or at school, further developing the concepts and problems presented in the story. Finally, the book includes a play that can be represented at school or at home (in fact, we tested it first at home with a small amateur theatre ensemble). The annotated play is preceded by an explanation on how to take it to stage, and link to all the materials made available for that purpose: including music piece with their authors permission, images, ...

3. "SAN FINX 1960" DOCUMENTARY FILM. The 50 minute documentary set out to recover the “historical environmental memory” of the 1960 San Finx mine tailings disaster, using the river as a thread to explain the different impacts that a mine produces, from land grabbing in surrounding communities to river pollution, heavy metal release, bioaccumulation in organisms and ecosystem damage at the marine estuary levels. The documentary’s première took place on March 28, being released in April for live television broadcast and public viewings.

3. TEACHER TRAINING. Several training sessions to use the materials have sofar been organized: at the 33rd Annual Galician-Portuguese Gathering of Peace Educators (May); at the Faculty of Education of the University of Santiago in collaboration with the Environmental Education Research Group SEPA-Interea (May); and at the Galician College of Social Educators (June).
Funding from the Guerrilla Foundation for the development of the core materials is acknowledged.


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon caption1.png (833.92 KB) Wagtail flying over the mine RCE Galicia
Image icon caption6.png (1.26 MB) Puppettry show scenery RCE Galicia
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
SDG 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all 
SDG 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all 
SDG 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
SDG 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development 
SDG 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss 
Disaster Risk Reduction 
Plants & Animals 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 3 - Developing capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level