Am vergangenen Freitag, den 7. September 2018, hat die Belgrano Universität, Partner von Mundus maris, eine Reihe von Aktivitäten im Rahmen der argentinischen nationalen Woche für Wissenschaft und Technologie organisiert. Eine dieser Aktivitäten bestand in einem Rollenspiel, bei dem vier Interessengruppen einen Konflikt über die Verschmutzung durch Plastikabfälle austrugen, wie sie in allen Restaurants einer Fast-Food-Kette verwendet werden. Das Rollenspiel wurde von jeweils zwei Gruppen von rund 45 Gymnasiasten interpretiert, die die sozialen und ökonomischen Aspekte einer möglichen Minderung der Plastikverschmutzung diskutierten. Die beteiligten Schulen waren die Escuela Argentina General Belgrano und das Colegio Lincoln und das Instituto Huergo.

The role play was created by UB.Verde, a task group born from the workshop “For an ocean without plastics”, during the World Oceans Week celebrations in Argentina, this year. This last event, sponsored by Mundus maris, was organised by the University of Belgrano and the historical Club de Pescadores de Buenos Aires. Members of UB.Verde are mostly graduate and undergraduate students. They are led by Dr. Marcelo Morales Yokobori. Together they worked during two months to create a case study where four fictitious stakeholders meet in a workshop, which is intended to reduce the plastic pollution caused by waste originated from the fast food restaurants. Interaction with the High School Department at the University of Belgrano was coordinated by the Secretary of Research, Dr. Claudia Degrossi. The meeting with high schools was arranged by Licentiate Sara López, from the High School Department at the University of Belgrano.

During the role play, the four stakeholder groups were interpreted by the high schools’ students. The groups represented were: MacFratys, a fast food chain who buys plastic elements to serve their meals; Sánchez e hijos, a factory producing plastic appliances like dishes, forks and knives; “Menos plásticos, más vida” (Less plastics, more life), an NGO defending environmental causes and the Municipality of Villa San Pedro, the imaginary tourist city where the controversy plays out. The role play serves to search for solutions which accommodate all interests to the highest degree, seeking not only to reduce pollution in rivers, lakes and the sea, but also to preserve jobs.

With the coordination of the UB.Verde team and third-year biology students, the role play lasted for around 50 minutes and was a complete success. After explaining the purpose of the workshop to the high schools’ students, the teenagers immediately assumed their respective roles, to later defend their positions and to finally find a consensus with acceptable solutions. You may watch the results in this video.

The case study had been previously interpreted by the third-year biology students as well as by a group of multiple careers at the University of Belgrano; in all cases, with excellent results. In the three cases, the participants not only proved able to come up with a magnificent methodology to find solutions to pollution problems, but also to create a passionate and friendly social environment.

Members of UB.Verde are, in alphabetical order: Bonelli, Carla; Castellanos Arévalo, Diana; De los Hoyos, Paula; Méndez, Luis; Miguel, Constanza, Rodríguez, Morena and Morales Yokobori, Marcelo. Illustrations for the prepared material were contributed by Martín Federico Fernández.

It started with a seed brought by Mundus maris, to which rapidly the University of Belgrano, and later the Club de Pescadores de Buenos Aires, gave the proper soil to grow.

Growing up, it provided a space for college students to develop their ideas, motivating them to take actions in favour of a better environment. Now these university graduate and undergraduate students share all these with their younger generations, at high school.

In Argentina, a wonderful domino effect is on the move and, apparently, it has no intention to stop.

Photos Diana Castellanos Arévalo and the first one by Morena Rodríguez (Marcelo Morales Yokobori on stage).