Ecoforestry Insights & Stewardship in the Jungle

The tree house of Canto Luz, in Madre de Dios, Peru.
photo: Maria Garnet

For two years now, I have been wondering what role humans can have in positively affecting ecosystems. I am trying to put all the pieces of my passion and training in ecology, sustainability & permaculture into work experiences and living opportunities.

Last year, I was invited to help design and initiate the eco-forestry based food-fibre-fuel and medicine forest for a 600 hectare project in the Amazon of Peru - this blog will be an online space to share the experiences  learning, living and working in these places I am becoming part of around South America. These are aspects of projects who are working towards a sustainable vision for humans in tropical jungles -
In my separate jungle blog, I will share my experiences about the challenges, successes and dreams of people in the projects I am working with during the next 6 months and beyond. I am sure during writing that I will be coloured with a foreigner's perspective, being that I am in a very new landscape and culture - I hope this is amusing and useful for you - but I also hope to bring in other perspectives, too.

As always, I will be sharing poems when they come to me, pictures where I can load them, and offering some inspired essays and reports on the possibilities of strategic social and ecological sustainability, rooted in community based efforts for ecosystem stewardship and the creation of thriving well-being.

For this 6-month journey, I am packing a small typing instrument, so I can easily record updates about ideas, poems and projects that I am working with. I will be living primarily in places "off-the-grid", and being removed from both electricity and internet I will make postings - sometimes pulsed out on masse - when I am in towns.
Please stay posted with me.  

You can see all the updates here: http://earthfullcircle.blogspot.ca


Resilience Restoration: a Paradigm for humanity


A leaked document tells us about illegal gas operations in Manú Park, Perú. The news tells us about a percentage of the world birds, butterflies and mammals who live there, and different Peoples too. UNESCO says that Manú is a protected area that has biodiversity that "exceeds that of any other place on Earth" : around 10% of the world's bird species (that means 1000 species), 5% of all mammals (around 250), and 15% of all butterflies (that's around 2625).
But what does that mean...
...to you?

Tell me of something near to you that's threatened.
To me, I get an overwhelming sense from having lived in different parts of the world that everywhere has something special that is threatened. I have seen and heard of ecosystems, watersheds, rivers, mountains, cultures, languages, community buildings, species, individuals, and it goes on and on. What seems to me as common is that the cause is so often, but so easily, summed up as “humanity: the evil, the virus”.

I tell you about an experience that seems so familiar to me, does it also feel familiar to you?: You read/see/hear/experience something awful, feel outrage, and then go to some degree that is between full-on action (“save the world” … “stop X,Y,Z” ... “fix the problems!”... “Do less bad”) or apathy (“well, we're screwed anyway”... “it's impossible”... “please tell me something good, instead”). It's that perspective which either tries to stave off destruction for one more hour, day or year, or at least try not to feel/notice anything while it happens.
But this only one way to react.

Paradigm is the word used for how a community sees themselves in the world. A change in paradigm is ultimately that which affects what is thought, and done. It's a pattern held collectively, and then, from it acted individually.

What is it that Humans do, as individuals and as a species? Biologists call this activity a “niche”, economists call it a “product” or “service”. Perhaps a Westerner perspective would call it “career”. For others it might be called “living life”. I want to call it ecological role.

Some say another paradigm is possible, and I am trying to find the words to express it here because I live with some big questions in my heart, and I live them everyday. When I see or read something that makes me feel so sad or angry, especially articles like this, in my heart I need to feel that there is a fundamentally different way for humans to live/be/and operate here on earth. So I look for it.

Are humans born predisposed to cause pain or destruction, or at least remain ignorant and seemingly powerless? Who knows, but this is the story we often tell ourselves and it's part of a current paradigm, and the perception of ourselves. But there is a different paradigm, too. At the moment it's seems a sometimes quiet one... but you'll hear it here and there. This is the paradigm of rule changing, system shifting, of doing not only “less bad”, but as living as a steward. It's a paradigm of moving just beyond sustainability, and toward resilience and restoration.

Could this be humanity's ecological role here on earth? And if we were to live that way, how would it look? How would it be in your life? 

(picture from frans lanting: http://franslanting.photoshelter.com/image/I0000L2wqc4XKO6Q)