As the Team gets ready to leave Latin America (in just a couple of days!), we wanted to leave you with one quick, easy, and very powerful "Making a Difference" project. This activity ties in with everything we have been exploring around the topic of The Environment and Development which we really focused on in Peru. As we've described in some of our dispatches over the past few months, the rainforests of Latin America are in grave danger. Some of you might feel like you're too far away from this problem to really help solve it. But you can!
Have you ever been in a restaurant, café, coffee shop, or ice cream store and noticed a little sign next to the napkin dispenser that says something like: "Don't forget! Napkins are made of trees -- take only what you need." Or maybe: "Save a tree, go napkin-free!" Well, you probably get the point. Millions of napkins are wasted worldwide every year. It's not uncommon for someone to grab a whole bunch, fearing that their meal might get real messy or they might have a spill. And then when they use only one or even none, the rest of those napkins get tossed in the garbage and we find the world one step closer to environmental disaster. Just about all of us have been guilty of this act but here's a chance to increase your awareness and help make your whole community more aware.
Here's what you can do. Go to any store in your town that provides napkins for its customers (restaurant, café, etc.) and explain to someone behind the counter that you're interested in helping raise awareness about environmental issues. Then, ask if they would mind having a sign placed next to their napkin dispenser to remind people to take what they need. Don't forget to mention that this would help the restaurant save money too -- fewer napkins, lower costs! We hope that most store-owners would support this idea and if so, go ahead and create the sign. If you're really ambitious, go around to a bunch of cafes and coffee shops. The more, the better!