On Earth Day 2016, our Maestro Antonio spent the day at the Toronto Zoo with Malaz from Partners in Project Green and a whole lot of panda bamboo. Malaz was able to wrestle some bamboo from the pandas, creating a nice pile just outside the panda exhibit gate to attract passerby’s attention.
Antonio reports: “We had a behind the scenes look, as in ‘Do you know what bamboo looks like?’ Our hook was showing people where the pandas chewed, letting them feel how strong the bamboo was.”
This brought on small crowds of families, who were informed: “You might not know, but pandas are picky eaters—they only eat 20% of the bamboo they are given. So what happens to the rest?”
We shared the story of the bamboo challenge that zoos have to contend with. Bamboo breaks regular wood chippers, so most zoos have to throw it into the landfill. You could see the disappointment in the crowd’s faces.
In comes Cavaleiro Farm and a group of ecological farms to the rescue! So what do we do with that bamboo?
At the farm, we get bamboo delivered by the truckload from the zoo. Malaz and I point to the pile of bamboo and use our arms to describe the big windbreak we create from it. In front of it, we plant trees that receive shelter from the bamboo shield. The crowd likes how the fruit trees benefit from what could have ended up as trash.
We discuss the sheep coming to graze. The trees keep growing along with the grass we don’t want. So we use the bamboo again, but this time as mulch, which surprises the crowd.
The whole process seems to make sense to our audience. And to finish off, the ecological farmers give the panda exhibit its fairytale ending: fruit trees, sheep, and no waste.