Giving Back – How Gaia Tree is supporting schools and education in the Amazon rainforest to help conserve one of Earth’s most precious natural resources
Rainforests, particularly the Amazon, are incredibly important to the survival of the Earth and its inhabitants. The Amazon rainforest is sometimes referred to as ‘the lungs of the earth’ because 20% of the world’s oxygen is produced by the Amazon. It also extracts a huge amount of carbon dioxide in the process.
Unless you have been living in a cave for the last 30 years, you’re probably well aware that deforestation is a serious global problem. Some rather horrifying facts include:
- Half of the world’s tropical forests have already been cleared.
- Agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation. 13 million hectares per year in South America and Africa and south East Asia is converted from a forest to an agriculture land. One and a half acres of forest is cut down every second. This rate of deforestation equals to loss of 20 football fields every minute.
- If the current rate of deforestation continues, it will take less than 100 years to destroy all the rainforests on the earth.
- Loss of forests contributes between 12 percent and 17 percent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions.
- Up to 28,000 species are expected to become extinct by the next quarter of the century due to deforestation.
- Poverty, over-population and unequal land access are the main causes of man- made deforestation.
What is the solution to this potentially cataclysmic problem?
Thankfully Peru has not yet seen the same amount of rainforest devastation as Brazil and many other countries. However, it is still a serious problem here.
Unfortunately, many of the people here that are causing the deforestation are people who actually live in the forest. This is generally because of poor education and lack of understanding about their environment and the importance of rainforest eco-systems. Sadly, most of the people who live in jungle towns and communities have lost all connection with the original indigenous wisdom of living in connection and harmony with their environment.
What if these people could be better educated so that instead of destroying their home they learn to conserve and live in greater harmony with it?
For now, our primary focus is on education in remote regions of the Amazon in Peru and in Northern India. In both of these places we have a presence, we have personal connections so we choose to support projects which help children get a certain level of educational support they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.
In Peru we’ve initiated a laptop and computer donation program, intending to donate simple laptops to provide access to computers for communities to learn things they simply wouldn’t have access to otherwise. This is not an attempt to colonise them, or have them live like us – the aim is to increase the opportunities and the possibilities available to children in remote jungle communities.
This is the goal of an organisation called CONAPAC and Gaia Tree is very proud to be supporting them.
CONAPAC is a Peruvian non-profit organization whose mission is to promote conservation of the rainforest through education of its stewards, the people who live along the Amazon and Napo Rivers. Their centerpiece project is the Adopt-A-School program, which is strengthened by workshops and complemented by service and sustainable projects in river communities.
CONAPAC strives to support the people of the rainforest communities it serves through sustainable practices. Their primary means of accomplishing these goals are through education.
- Educating children through their Adopt-A-School program about their environment and the importance of rainforest ecosystems
- Educating the community about the economic potential of the natural resources of the rainforest by presenting long-term sustainable methods and models
- Educating through our workshops the community’s role in rainforest preservation and its niche in the ecosystem
- Encouraging and strengthening leadership and organizational qualities in village leaders
- Providing support and encouragement for preserving the indigenous songs, stories, dances, and other customs of the people of the Amazon River Basin
Through profitable sustainable development projects, community improvement projects, and classroom training, the people our partner communities are learn ways to cope with the demands of today’s world and to be able to continue to live in harmony with nature. Promoting awareness of the rainforest and its place in the villagers’ lives is a continuing challenge that CONAPAC has taken on for 25 years.
More specifically Gaia Tree intends to support CONAPAC’s Adopt-a-School Program.
- Since its creation in 1993, the Adopt-A-School program has grown from 10 schools to 54 communities to 108 schools, and over 3,000 teachers and students.
- The program supports a variety of schools, from one-room schoolhouses to combined kindergarten, primary, and high schools.
- Education is free in Peru, but students are required to purchase their own notebooks, rulers, pens, and pencils, which is an almost impossible financial burden for most rural families. Adopt-A-School provides these necessary learning materials.
- The Adopt-A-School Program encourages intercultural awareness and exchanges of friendship and goodwill among Peruvians and visitors from around the world.
- As part of the Adopt-A-School program CONAPAC hold workshops in order to bring teachers and community leaders together to learn new techniques and teaching strategies. The focus is on environmental education and is an invaluable tool to advance their broader goals of environmental awareness.
- Topics for teacher workshops include development of productive lesson plans, inclusive education for all students, health and nutrition in the rainforest, the importance of including parent participation in the education process. Local specialists are invited in to share their expertise.
- Workshops for community leaders include topics on their role in the village, health and nutrition as the basis for a prosperous community, sustainable use of natural resources, productive soil strategies, and the exchange of experiences among leaders of neighboring villages.
To cost to sponsor one Peruvian school kindergarten, primary or high school is $425 per year.
Our intention is sponsor at least one school each month through our profits and/or additional donations from our guests
You can learn more about CONAPAC through their website at http://conapac.org/