We allow ourselves to be fooled into thinking that there are certain things against which we, as individuals, can never hope to win: oppressive regimes overseas, undermining human rights; our destructive dependence on fossil fuels; and the world's rapidly disappearing natural habitats. We read about a new indignity perpetrated in the free newspapers bog papers that we're handed every day.
But it's all a big lie. One told very effectively to keep us down, to keep us angry, divided and unproductive. Yet, all over the world, people are fighting back and winning.
All through May, THTC is celebrating Sir David Attenborough's 90th Birthday, and thus supporting one of his favourite charities - the World Land Trust. The WLT, an international charity, works to protect the world’s most biologically important and threatened habitats acre by acre. It funds local and regional partners to create reserves and protection programs.
One of the WLT's key work areas is located within the extraordinarily named Andean Cloud Forests of Ecuador. Yeah, it's as freaking phenomenal as it sounds. Looking like something out of the happier parts of Princess Mononoke, this region of Central Ecaudor is home to the world's rarest 'micro-orchids', and creatures like the Mountain Tapir, the Spectacled Bear and Woolly Monkeys.
As with most of the world's natural areas, poverty and uncontrolled resource capitalisation have eroded it's existence. Ecuador has had a shift of consciousness regarding the environment, with major cities building green spaces and eco-friendly public transportation. However, agricultural practices, illegal logging and mining still continue to take a toll on its forested areas. The majority of this is fueled by demand from Europe and America for goods such as cheap livestock meat and aggregates - Ecuador's main response to its poverty problems.
In such a socially sensitive environment, conservation NGOs are often accused of 'Green Colonialism' - the enforcement of 'western values' at the cost of indigenous peoples. The WLT, as part of it's core mission, however, aims to create sustainable development projects staffed by local groups. The land purchased with the funds it raises are also managed and ultimately owned by local groups.
In April 2016, the WLT announced that it had successfully raised a colossal £500,000 to assist its partner, Fundación EcoMinga, to purchase vital properties, forming a massive biological corridor, allowing wildlife to move safely between the Sangay and Llanganates National Parks - this area will be collectively known as the Rio Machay Reserve. This represented a long campaign of fundraising and lobbying by both WLT and EcoMinga. Standing up for natural habitats in areas of great natural resources is dangerous business.
EcoMinga, originally formed by a group of concerned scientists and conservationists, has been stewarding habitats in the region since 2005. The number of flora and fauna species safeguarded by their latest purchase is innumerable. However, WLT and EcoMinga's work is far from over and they are looking to secure the whole of the region known as Cerro Mayordomo by 2017. Check out what the Rio Machay reserve looks like, check out EcoMinga's awesome blog - written by co-founder Lou Jost.
Just think - this little victory was effectively half the population of Glastonbury Festival, all giving just £10. And they saved a bloody rainforest. To have a hand in making the world a better place, is a noble aim - one that's often laughed off as hippie idealism. Yes, there's a lot of awful crap happening in the world - but there's more good being done. And we can all be a part of it.
To quote Bob, 'Get Up, Stand Up - Don't Give Up The Fight.'
All through this May - THTC will be donating 20% of all net sales of the King David Collection, to the WLT.
Support The World Land Trust Directly - follow them on social, and join their mailing lists!
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