Bioremediation for Lake Atitlán

$3,530 of $7,000 goal

Raised by 50 people in 11 months
Lago Eisenhauer  MISSION, KS

Lake Atitlán, Guatemala, is a world treasure. Lonely Planet calls it "The closest thing to Eden on Earth," and Aldous Huxley famously wrote of it in his 1934 travel book saying, "It really is too much of a good thing." Tourism is booming and the population around the lake is expanding quickly.

The lake sits in a volcanic crater and has no outflow, so everything that goes in, stays in. Unfortunately, this includes waste water from at least 20 towns and chemical fertilizer and pesticide runoff from unsustainable agriculture. The scientific agency in charge of monitoring the lake, AMSCLAE, claims it will be dead within 7 years. Beyond destroying its natural beauty, the contamination threatens the livelihood of all who live by its waters. At any given moment, roughly 20% of the population suffers from e-coli, amoebas, giardia and other intestinal pathogens. Something urgently needs to be done.





AN INTERCULTURAL COOPERATIVE EFFORT
We, the Lake Atitlan Environmental Interests Group , are a cross-cultural association working with farmers, fishermen, environmentalists, teachers, business owners, creatives, and inspired volunteers alike, who have joined forces to create a plan of action that aims to address the contamination at its source. By breaking down cultural barriers and encouraging the exchange of both Indigenous and Western wisdom, we aim to provide a shining example of what can be achieved through positive collaborative action.


PILOT PROJECT: BIOREMEDIATION WITH "EM"

Bioremediation is the process of using naturally occurring beneficial microorganisms to solve an environmental problem such as contaminated soil or water. In a non-polluted environment, bacteria, fungi, protists, and other microorganisms are constantly at work breaking down organic matter and keeping the ecosystem balanced and healthy. When an ecosystem is heavily and consistently contaminated, these beneficial organisms can't survive the onslaught and die off.

Bioremediation works by reintroducing these pollution-eating Effective Microorganisms (EM) in sufficient quantities and with adequate support so that they can restore and rebuild the ecosystem "from the ground up." It is a biotechnology that has been used all over the world with great success.

 Please take a few minutes to watch this video  about EM . It says it all. 15 minutes well spent!

Here is a UNICEF study  that shows how effective EM is, and another study showing almost complete eradication of e-coli in a lake in Los Angeles. Finally, here's a playlist of 7 videos  that explain how EM was used to remediate the Seto Inland Sea in Japan.



HOW WE WILL USE EM AT LAKE ATITLÁN

Lake Atitlán is nearly 25 cubic kilometers in volume, and regenerating it is a massive, but necessary, undertaking. The key is starting small and scaling up. This campaign will fund the construction of a first EM facility and demo site in Santiago, Atitlán. This site will serve as an educational hub for workshops and demonstrations to raise awareness about the use and effectiveness of EM, as well as produce roughly 500 gallons a week of Extended, Activated EM to use in local hotels, waste water treatment plants, for local farmers, etc.


1. WASTE WATER TREATMENT

EM will be distributed to waste water treatment plants and local hotels and businesses in order to get the good bacteria into the sewage systems to break down harmful bacteria and pathogens before they enter the lake.  This will be done in conjunction with AMSCLAE scientists for monitoring, and will provide a huge savings to local municipalities.  This will be a highly effective "stop-gap" measure while better waste management measures are researched and developed by local municipalities.




2. ORGANIC AGRICULTURE + PERMACULTURE

EM will also be given to farmers, helping them to regenerate their soil and transition to organic agriculture. We are already working with ADENISA, Aprocamca, Agroinsumos Organicos, Xesuj Organicos, and an increasing number of growers' associations to develop organic composting programs as well as soil amendment and remediation practices using EM.

OUR TEAM


WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP

Guatemala is a country infamous for corruption at all levels of government. Officially supplied funds simply cannot reach projects like these with any efficiency. The citizens of Atitlán know that by working together and enlisting the help of an international community of people who care about our Mother Earth, we can overcome these obstacles quickly and effectively. We need these seed funds to set up the project and begin Phase 1. With one facility operational, we know we can garner much more support from larger sources. Together we can send the message of how co-creation can build and shape a better world.





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Update 7
Posted by Lago Eisenhauer
5 months ago
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Hello Lake Supporters!

Just wanted to give everyone an update on the Bioremediation efforts for the Lake. Due to the size and expense of these projects we have decided to go a different route with funding because the crowdfunding was not nearly sufficient. We have part of the project built and have a grant approved by Rotary to finish it up. Thank you so much for helping us get started!

Our 501c3 and NGO status are both in process so we will be able to go after the larger funds needed to make a real impact on the Lake next year.

In the meantime, we are focusing on low cost, quick implementation phytoremediation projects that will both help buy time for the Lake and also be used to focus awareness on the problems the Lake is facing. Because phytoremediation (like Tul Planting, floating Gardens, etc.) projects don't cost a lot we will be doing crowdfunding for those to give the local community the opportunity to pitch in and show their support. Crowdfunding allows for projects to be done quickly while waiting for Grants (that sometimes feel like they take forever to get).

We look forward to these projects and introducing everyone to our ever growing Team! It's nice to see so many people that really, in their hearts, Love this Lake and are willing to do their parts to Save it!
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Update 6
Posted by Lago Eisenhauer
9 months ago
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Wanted to update everyone again on the project. This GoFundMe is a small part of a much bigger campaign to raise the funds for all the projects the Lake Atitlan Environmental Interests Team is working on via grants. Grants take a lot of time though and since I have a.d.d. I can't really sit still and wait LOL... We have been working hard to build our base team and connections in the local community. Currently we are working with several different organic coffee growers associations to help them become more sustainable on their own. This involves helping them make large amounts of compost and supplying EM for their compost and foliar applications. We are seeking grants to get them the equipment needed to facilitate the growth of their organizations. One of the Coffee growers associations alone already has 2 other conventional coffee farmers associations (chemical fertilizers, fungicides, etc) wanting to join them which by itself will transfer over 300 small farmers in the Lake Atitlan watershed from chemical farming to Organic, sustainable coffee farming. All we need is the grants to come thru and the other funding to supply them with the EM and compost that they need. We are also partnering with ARLA to mobilize their 400 volunteer base to help with compost materials acquisition and clean trash out of the lake. After those efforts are running smoothly we will start on other projects to help prevent chemical runoff into Lake Atitlan.

Also in the works (just awaiting funds to implement it) is a partnership project with AMSCLAE on a waste water treatment plant here by Santiago. Although EM is currently used in hundreds of waste water treatment plants worldwide (maybe thousands) they want us to prove it works on poop here the same as everywhere else LOL. So we'll hop thru the hoops and dance the dance. Hopefully by then we'll have grant funding sufficient to implement it's use in all the waste water treatment plants around the lake. That will have a HUGE impact on the sewage entering Lake Atitlan.

Long term goals on just these 2 projects is to facilitate as many of the thousands of coffee and vegetable farmers around the lake that we can to convert to sustainable organic farming (we are also working to provide markets for their produce to drive demand). On the waste water, long term goal is to have all waste water treatment plants in the basin funded properly and using EM to do what beneficial microbes do naturally, fight pathogens, digest organic matter and clean the environment.

We really appreciate all that have helped us so far and ask for your continued support (both financial or if your local, hands in the dirt) as we continue to address the problems at their sources for the remediation of Lake Atitlan. We are just in the growth stages (where the growth pains are) so the Lake needs all the support you feel in your heart to give to it!

Thanks!

The Lake Atitlan Environmental Interests Team,

Shawn, Melanie, Enrique, Andres and Reuben (and more to join :-)
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Update 5
Posted by Lago Eisenhauer
9 months ago
   Share
Wanted to update everyone again on the project. This GoFundMe is a small part of a much bigger campaign to raise the funds for all the projects the Lake Atitlan Environmental Interests Team is working on via grants. Grants take a lot of time though and since I have a.d.d. I can't really sit still and wait LOL... We have been working hard to build our base team and connections in the local community. Currently we are working with several different organic coffee growers associations to help them become more sustainable on their own. This involves helping them make large amounts of compost and supplying EM for their compost and foliar applications. We are seeking grants to get them the equipment needed to facilitate the growth of their organizations. One of the Coffee growers associations alone already has 2 other conventional coffee farmers associations (chemical fertilizers, fungicides, etc) wanting to join them which by itself will transfer over 300 small farmers in the Lake Atitlan watershed from chemical farming to Organic, sustainable coffee farming. All we need is the grants to come thru and the other funding to supply them with the EM and compost that they need. We are also partnering with ARLA to mobilize their 400 volunteer base to help with compost materials acquisition and clean trash out of the lake. After those efforts are running smoothly we will start on other projects to help prevent chemical runoff into Lake Atitlan.

Also in the works (just awaiting funds to implement it) is a partnership project with AMSCLAE on a waste water treatment plant here by Santiago. Although EM is currently used in hundreds of waste water treatment plants worldwide (maybe thousands) they want us to prove it works on poop here the same as everywhere else LOL. So we'll hop thru the hoops and dance the dance. Hopefully by then we'll have grant funding sufficient to implement it's use in all the waste water treatment plants around the lake. That will have a HUGE impact on the sewage entering Lake Atitlan.

Long term goals on just these 2 projects is to facilitate as many of the thousands of coffee and vegetable farmers around the lake that we can to convert to sustainable organic farming (we are also working to provide markets for their produce to drive demand). On the waste water, long term goal is to have all waste water treatment plants in the basin funded properly and using EM to do what beneficial microbes do naturally, fight pathogens, digest organic matter and clean the environment.

We really appreciate all that have helped us so far and ask for your continued support (both financial or if your local, hands in the dirt) as we continue to address the problems at their sources for the remediation of Lake Atitlan. We are just in the growth stages (where the growth pains are) so the Lake needs all the support you feel in your heart to give to it!

Thanks!

The Lake Atitlan Environmental Interests Team,

Shawn, Melanie, Enrique, Andres and Reuben (and more to join :-)
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Update 4
Posted by Lago Eisenhauer
10 months ago
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The knowledge of how to work with Effective Microorganisms is now reaching into the local community. Lake Atitlan Environmental Interests Group is working with several organic coffee growing associations and local farmers to learn how to use EM to transition from chemical farming to a sustainable organic method that will reduce chemical fertilizer run off into the lake and promote a healthier environment in the lake basin. The pictures below are or EM being applied to yard wastes before piling into a compost pile and EM being sprayed inside a chicken house. Immediately there is a complete elimination of odors in the chicken house and the beneficial bacteria quickly go to work creating a healthy environment. These chickens also have EM in their drinking water. Many more updates to come. Now that we have a steady supply of EM work will progress quickly. Please continue to share this campaign around and help with even small donations if you can. Setting this up grassroots costs money so we need all the help people are willing to provide! Thank you so much for your support! If you live at the lake and want to learn how to use EM let us know!
EM applied to yard wastes for composting
Applying EM inside a small chicken coop
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Read a Previous Update
Maalaa Rosalie Lazar
11 months ago
1
1

I am a land-owner near the lake, and I am aware of the value of a clean healthy lake. Let us support serious and capable people. A little now goes a long way for the future, not only inland value, but Life!!! Value...counting on you Shawn.

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$3,530 of $7,000 goal

Raised by 50 people in 11 months
Created May 27, 2016
$20
Shenny Toledo
1 month ago

Gracias por apoyar a mi país y salvar a este hermoso lago. Thank you for supporting my country, and save this beautiful lake.

MB
$25
Mark B
5 months ago
DS
$50
Diane and Ron Stuart
5 months ago

Have enjoyed the view and wish it to remain as beautiful and healthy as when we were there.

HM
$25
Heather McGaw
5 months ago
CM
$300
Caroline McCabe
5 months ago

Here's to our Beautiful Lago Atitlan!

AL
$50
Amy Leaman
5 months ago
FA
$60
Francisco Areano
5 months ago
LD
$250
Lucas Dougherty
5 months ago
RM
$25
ROMY MEERKIN
7 months ago
NP
$35
Nadia Pitczuk-charet
9 months ago
Maalaa Rosalie Lazar
11 months ago
1
1

I am a land-owner near the lake, and I am aware of the value of a clean healthy lake. Let us support serious and capable people. A little now goes a long way for the future, not only inland value, but Life!!! Value...counting on you Shawn.

+ Read More
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