We just had 23 students from S.I.T/World Teach visit AJL for a couple of days and perform community service activities in one of the local communities called San Pedro. This is the first action of the AJL/AF initiative to plant giant bamboo along the eroded banks of the Arajuno River in front of communities and schools where serious flooding could cause loss of property or life. Giant Bamboo not only provides great stream side protection against soil erosion, but also provides edible shoots, building materials, fire wood and additional habitat for birds and other critters. Plus, this bamboo is the world’s fastest growing plant and the world’s largest bamboo. It also serves as a giant carbon sink, effectively fixing three times more carbon from the air than a native forest can. We will continue to plant Giant Bamboo and a variety of native species along the banks of the Arajuno River wherever needed, especially in front of the communities we are working with. Great initiative! Thanks to AJL, AF and S.I.T/World Teach!
Archive for October, 2009
My dad used to reference various quotes to try to instill wisdom in my brother and me—to which we responded by vigorously rolling our eyes and making faces, of course. One frequently referenced adage was “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for life.” I never really saw this principle in practice until I visited the Arajuno Jungle Lodge. While there, I learned that the key to a healthy watershed is an investment in the people that depend on the land, animals, and waters you seek to protect.
The Arajuno Foundation projects create alternatives for the local indigenous communities so they don’t have to resort to environmentally destructive practices. A guides course equips locals to make money educating tourists about the rainforest instead of cutting down wood to sell from the nearby Reserve. Cooking courses and new kitchen facilities help to establish an eco-tourism industry in place of mining for gold in the riverbed. And community fish and turtle ponds create a sustainable food source, ensuring that the river isn’t bombarded with destructive fishing practices that use pesticides or dynamite. With Tom’s work, the future looks bright for the environment and people of the Arajuno River.
Sara Aminzadeh, San Francisco