Can you imagine saving the Amazon Rainforest with a debit card?
Behind deforestation there is more than destroyed habitats . There are environmental consequences and negative impacts on fauna and flora, inappropriate processes of reforestation and planting of non-native species that affect the soil and the entire environmental balance, degradation of the spaces of vulnerable communities and ruptures in the social and cultural relations of these groups. with nature, and many other problems that come directly from the destruction of a living space.
Forests and nature are territories of life and indigenous communities understand them as such. In this new entry we tell you about the customs, stories and relationships that are destroyed and affected when an area is deforested, and how, in addition to being an environmental problem, we can see that it can become a social problem . Stay and discover everything behind extensive deforestation.
The indigenous communities have built such a strong attachment to nature that they attribute their origin to the Amazon jungle.
The Amazon is mostly inhabited and protected by hundreds of indigenous communities . It is estimated that there are even several with which we have not yet had contact. All these territories are spaces of life and stories that build the cosmology of these communities who have a direct relationship with nature. Beyond the protection of the territory that the presence of indigenous people in these spaces entails, we need to understand the situation from their shoes and understand the jungle beyond the incredible ecosystem that it is . We must try to see it through the eyes of the communities, as a living environment that is part of our history and, for this reason, of our identity as human beings.
Reviewing the information on deforestation in Colombia in the last 30 years, we realized that the autonomous and protected spaces of the country, such as indigenous reservation areas and natural parks respectively, contribute more than half of the figures in deforestation of the territory. These spaces are protected due to the rich ecosystem they hold and the cultural importance and ancestral abundance they have for the communities that inhabit them and for the world. But they actually face the highest rates of environmental and social impact. The problem is that much more than biodiversity is lost in these spaces, deforestation being a transversal problem that involves the environmental, social and political spheres.
* Deforestation monitoring results. IDEAM, 2018.
This is what the indigenous people are losing.
The Vaupés communities we work with and many other indigenous families living in different parts of the jungle understand animals, fish and trees as knowers with whom they can communicate. The knowers take the strength and help to be able to use their ancestral knowledge of the places that are within the jungle. For the indigenous communities , the entire territory is life , for the people from outside, as they say to those who do not belong to the jungle, the territory is a resource that can be exploited and for that very reason there is violence and deforestation without thinking about the impact and consequences they have on cultural identity.
The birds, the fish, any animal of the jungle are for the indigenous people that the wise can see and with whom they can communicate.
But why are these relationships with nature so important? What are they really losing?
Imagine that you come home from work and your house is invaded by people you don't know and all your things, your family photos, the memories of your life are being destroyed. All these elements are part of our history , and although they are limited to being mostly only material objects, they have acquired a much more significant value, to the point of forming our identity .
That is what indigenous families lose, they lose much more than the natural resources that allow them to lead a sustainable life, they lose their identity. Leading them to an uprooting from their territory, from everything they call their home and that has built their culture.
When a sacred place is attacked, the relationships that communities have with this space and with its history are strongly affected. Those beings who recognize in each element of the jungle suffer and likewise they suffer.
Within this territory there are places that are sacred. Places that are part of the path of origin of life that the Yoamarã (community historians) do or of the spaces that give strength to the communities for the prayers that make up their traditional health system. What happens if we destroy a place that gives strength to a community to live healthy? Many indigenous people speak of the loss of joy, the spread of diseases in their communities, and even deaths. For them they are protected spaces, so much so that they cannot be burned to do the chagra , nor hunt. Recognizing these spaces is also recognizing the identity and diversity of the world, it is understanding the differences and understanding ourselves as part of a larger world in which we all have the possibility of existing in freedom.
Many sacred areas are being violated. Spaces that communities protect to such an extent that it is forbidden to step on or look at them are now being destroyed by backhoes and fires that also alter the surrounding ecosystems .
The communities understand the relationship of each subject that makes up their ecosystem, they understand life and the sacred in a stone, a tree, in rivers, animals and plants. While we often see, as they themselves say, resources that can be exploited.
For this same reason, and for this way of understanding nature on the part of the Western world, these sacred spaces are at an ever higher risk of extinction and the precarious conditions faced by people in the jungle and territories due to the processes of massive deforestation, are slowly bringing the risk of extermination to the same communities.
It is important to highlight that in addition to facing the phenomenon of deforestation, indigenous families must fight against another series of obstacles every day. Problems such as mining , contact with diseases that settlers bring to the jungle, are just a few of the problems that are added to the excessive felling of trees and the destruction of the ecosystem.
Solutions against deforestation.
The deforestation process must be understood beyond the use of timber that may result from it. Understanding the different causes also allows us to propose solutions that have an impact beyond reforestation and environmental reconstruction.
In general terms, the relationship between the integral development of indigenous communities and the ecosystem health of the forests they inhabit must be aimed at the active construction of guarantees that ensure the protection of these spaces -understood as environmental and socio-cultural spaces- and the sustainable development based on the conservation of one of the essential ecosystems for the balance of the climatic crisis .
A phenomenon such as deforestation, which in many cases prospers due to the absence of vigilance over the resources by the competent authorities and which goes beyond the use of timber, is evidence of the need for a call to achieve a social consensus on the protection of forest resources in Colombia and the world and on the generation of awareness about sacred spaces.
At Saving The Amazon we care about caring for the jungle in an integral way and understanding the needs of the communities and the ecosystem to generate a positive impact on the environment in the long term. So that both the communities and the world can benefit from the benefits of the jungle, allowing future generations to also see the fruits of the commitment we have with this ecosystem and its communities.
Informing to have a critical stance in the face of these situations is essential to build a better future, we invite you to share this information to raise awareness about everything we lose when we deforest the Amazon jungle.
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