The goal of my recent visit to Peru was to find land that had been deforested and needed reforestation. I intend to set up a volunteer/reforestation program not only to help with reforestation but also to give people from outside Peru the opportunity to connect with the amazon in a very meaningful way and get a first hand idea of the issue these communities are dealing with. On this land I am also building a cultural centre to house invaluableinformation on native culture and traditions before modernisation takes hold, and use the lodgings not only to give the community a way to supplement their income through ecotourism but to encourage people in the community to become a part of, and see value in this project. In order to find the best way of going about this, I wanted to find people in the community with an understanding of all the issues and see how they felt about what I was proposing to do.
I made my way from Cusco to the jungle community of Pilcopata, in the Kcosnipata region and with the help of Mariel Cordero, spoke with as many people as I could including the church pastor who’s NPO has been put in control of a 10000ha government concession of land, land that has been deforested and is at further risk of deforestation. After talking with the community about what I intended to do I was told that it was a great idea but it did little to address the issue of deforestation that exist due to the lack of alternatives for land holders surrounding the concession still logging and using out dated and destructive agricultural practices.
For many days we talked exhaustively with people about what they felt were the first steps in addressing these issues and what was preventing them from taking action. Their answer was simply funding for human resources to help educate, offer alternatives and mediate between land holders who disagree about agricultural practises. Our company, The World as I AM, is forming a partnership with The Kcosnipata association for conservation to address these delicate but most important issues before we can begin the task of reforestation. It’s much more sensitive work then reforestation but through this process we will build the kind of foundation and relationship with the community necessary to see the ongoing success of the community’s economy and the reforestation program.
To begin this funding we are using my photography. When I began this fund raising project I hoped that each frame I sold would represent a hectare of amazon saved. That each time someone looked at a framed image, they could look at this picture and not only see an image of a beautiful place on this planet, but a frame that represents an investment in the future. what I have learned from this trip though, is that each frame could represent 100s maybe 1000s of hectares of amazon saved as the funds for these frames will FIRST be invested in people and education to offer alternatives to the current practices.
Like an investment in a bank, this investment will grow.
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