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Meet The Lady Knitting 5,000 Sweaters For Australian Penguins

DIE WELT (Germany)

Worldcrunch

HAMBURG - Penguins may look as if they're wearing tuxedos, but they feel more comfortable in a sweater – when, that is, the sweater can protect them from the disastrous effects of oil slicks. Since February, German woman Angelika Regenstein has been knitting wooly jumpers for penguins and has developed a global network of co-knitters.

The finished items are collected at her Hamburg travel agency. When she has 5,000 she intends to bring them to Australia – where the penguin sweater idea originated at the Phillip Island Rehabilitation Centre.

The island is home to 60,000 dwarf penguins. When they return to land at night, they are in danger of getting oil on their feathers – unless they're wearing their sweater, whose wool absorbs the oil. After an oil spill in 2001, sweaters saved 97% of the local penguin population, according to the organization, which also provided them for penguins impacted by the Rena spill off New Zealand.

The sweaters have to be knitted exactly according to instructions, says Regenstein, but if a finished item is a little off size-wise -- no problem. "They sell toy penguins on the island, and with a sweater they bring in more money for the center."

"Everybody can knit at their own pace, and as much as they want to; there are no deadlines." says Regenstein. "Sweaters are always needed."

Read the full article by Bettina Albrod in Die Welt.

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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