In preparing to step into this journey to Ecuador and Peru for 6 months to learn about ecoforestry and permaculture to cultivate more sustainable human-ecosystems, I immediately recognized that my education right now is only a base. I will need to participate in existing projects in south america by visiting established projects - I am going to experience the land and to grow synergistic relationships with locals.
Some of the major drivers of deforestation in tropical areas are based out of desperation for resources; what does it mean to re-connect stewardship of these resources with longer term economic and ecological sustainability? These are questions I am asking, and I know I am not alone in my inquiry - there are many organizations and people passionate about forestry, and the links between people and the land base on that which we're living.
|soiling building on the forest floor - Mariya Garnet|
I am going to find real-life practical experiences in this area of expertise. So, I searched volunteer opportunities suited to these aims and ideals...
In October of 2013 I will be setting forth to first to Ecuador, volunteering for two months in a project called the Third Millennium Alliance, who works with restoration, reforestation and community building. Their efforts have included created the 1012 acre Jama-Coaque bioreserve in the critically endagered coastal cloud forest. You can see more of their accomplishments here.
The second major internship will be outside of Iquitos in NE Peru. The Paititi Institute is a landbased community actively working with permaculture design and ecological restoration serving as an education facility and model that strives to provide for human needs in a way that refrains from harming the environment, and at the same time works with it to create thriving systems.
In March 2014, I will be joining Canto Luz in the Madre de Dios region of SE Peru. Canto Luz has opened last year and has already headed a successful crowdfunding campaign, built beautiful tree houses and opened for retreats to work with plant medicines of the jungle. They are located on 400 hectares of rainforest donated to them for old growth preservation. Canto Luz' vision for success includes a sustainable Center for preserving indigenous knowledge. It's an important vision for this part of the amazon, and we have a ways to go. My hope for working with Canto Luz in this primary phase of my involvement will be mapping part of the territory for design of their homegarden, and agro-forestry project. We hope to beginning planting soon, too.
My other main motivations for going is that I had a very real dream-vision of three bees. They crawled on me, tickled me, and while some water rose up around us, my friend who sat behind me whispered: "Cassandra, this is very important!" ... I woke up feeling I had been given a message. Dreamwork is living, and not of static symbols. I hope to delve a little deeper, and work this dream alive...