Namaste people!

Nepal

view from the Nagarkot Tower

From Kathmandu with love….

” Namaste: an ancient Sanskrit greeting still in everyday use on the trail in the Nepal Himalaya. It means “I bow to the God within you”, or “The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you” beautiful!

Today, I want to share with you some amazing lessons from Nepal’s approach to conservation, climate change and people’s livelihoods.

We have heard a lot of stories about the conflicts between people and wildlife in buffer zones of protected areas. And how challenging it is to find good measures to  deal with this. In Nepal, small holders in rural communities see their staple crops affected by deers, wild rhinos, elephants, monkeys and climate change. For these communities, wildlife is a constant threat to their lives, food security and economy.  An innovative solution to increase communities’ resilience to climate change and to mitigate human-wildlife conflict  is the cultivation of crops that are not appealing to wildlife. Yes!   Communities here plant mint, lemon grass, chamomile and other aromatic plants to extract essential oils and export them abroad. Wild animals seem to not like these plants very much and they stay away from this kind of crops. Isn’t it great? People practice this in between the cultivation of their traditional crops such as rice, wheat and maize, so their food is secured as well.  The result at the end, is an opportunity for small holders to increase their resilience to climate change by having an alternative source of income, a reduction of the conflicts between wildlife and people, and an interesting approach to conservation in buffer zones. Maybe, this could be an innovative solution for a better management of buffer belts around protected areas. This is my lesson learnt from Nepal… 🙂

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Business ideas for Conservation

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Otonga Cloud Forest

I’ve been called ‘idealist” several times in my life, especially when the discussions are around business, consumption patterns and biodiversity conservation. BUT I do believe that there are different ways of doing business, different ways of consuming…and more important I do believe that business can enhance the protection of the natural environment and that consumers have the right and the power of choosing sustainable and ethical products. Here are some of my ideas of innovative business models that might work…

Wild orange marmalade from Otonga- My business innovation idea for the conservation of the Otonga Cloud Forest- part 1

In a nutshell, the idea is to sell the best wild orange marmalade to the best restaurant(s) in Quito. The chef will prepare the best dessert based on wild orange marmalade and row sugar from the Otonga Cloud forest. The best-informed clients  will attend the restaurant and pay a fair price for eating a delicious dessert that has a social and environmental purpose. The owner of the restaurant, will invest part of its revenues in the sustainability of its source of production (wild oranges + row sugar + local entrepreneurs of the area). Sounds good right?naranja agria

Benefits:

– The environment is seen as an opportunity for investment rather than as an externality.

– Profit for the marmalade producers and the restaurant.

– Low-income communities in Ecuador can improve their livelihoods by running social enterprises compatible with biodiversity conservation.

– Protection of the cloud forest in Ecuador

– Awareness rising among consumers in Quito

Who’s joining me in my start-up? 😉

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Quito-Ecuador

¿Vives fuera de tu presupuesto? para reflexionar…

Según, el Global Network Footprint, hoy 19 de agosto sobrepasamos el límite de regeneración natural de la Tierra para este año… es decir que el resto del año 2014 viviremos fuera de nuestro presupuesto natural… cada año esta fecha llega más temprano, 1 de octubre en el 2000 vs 19 de agosto en el 2014… para reflexionar no? 🙂 Busquemos ser más consecuentes con nuestro discurso y busquemos vivir de manera más sostenible.

Les comparto el artículo de el Global Network Footprint: 

In less than 8 Months, Humanity exhausts Earth’s budget for the year

y el de la WWF al respecto:

In the red for the rest of 2014: today we exceed nature’s budget

Ilustración:  Alicia Franco

Ilustración: Alicia Franco

Community Resilience and Biodiversity conservation

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I was lucky to co-facilitate the Second Dialogue on Finance for biodiversity of the Convention for Biological Diversity held in Quito, last 9-12 April 2014. A variety of national and international experiences in dealing with biodiversity and ecosystem services, including views from intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, development agencies, social movements, farmer organizations, indigenous and local communities organizations, scientists and the private sector enriched the understanding about mechanisms to finance biodiversity.

In my opinion discussing the variety of mechanisms to finance biodiversity is necessary: taxes, compensations, offsets, paying for ecosystem services, all very interesting, BUT, are we really mainstreaming biodiversity in the development agenda? or are we just planning development at the expenses of biodiversity as usual? how can we make sure that the interconnections between biodiversity and human communities, are at the heart of all sustainability discussions? The reality is that the links between human beings and the nature we depend upon, are not yet respected and not even recognized as fundamental.

For me it is clear, biodiversity is life, and life on earth shapes all the environmental, social and economic process. Losing biodiversity means to weaken the basis for sustainable development by reducing ecosystems and community resilience, and the capacity for adaptive responses in a rapidly changing world. Biodiversity should be mainstreamed in all discussions of the new Sustainable Development Goals and the agenda post 2015. When we discuss about poverty eradication, food security, disaster risk management, health etc… we are intrinsically depending on biodiversity to meet these goals. Acting in biodiversity IS development!

Finally, how do I think we can contribute to biodiversity conservation?, well…inspiring, leading by example and INNOVATING! We need to get more creative in finance and legal mechanisms to make this happen. Many initiatives around the world have shown it is possible to preserve biodiversity and at the same time improve people´s livelihoods. Better application of  evidence and technology, working with others outside the environmental sectors, empowerment of local communities in decision making and good governance, private sector partnerships in financing biodiversity conservation are some examples of the things we can do.

“We are the first generation to understand the harmful impact of our lives and our actions on the planet. This knowledge comes with great responsibility that cannot be delegated to anyone. Everyone should take their own responsibility from the area where they work,” Christina Figueres

Meeting LAC fellows

It has been a long time since my last blog post…here I am again….keeping up Vivamos el Bosque 🙂

The Do School program, ¨Engage in Conservation¨ has officially ended this year, but the initiative of protecting the Otonga Cloud Forest is still up and running. Some news about my favorite place in the world coming soon 🙂
I´ve now become an alumni of the DO school,  and with my fellow Diego from Chile we were selected as ambassadors for Latin America. yeyyyy!!! what does that mean? 😉 Diego-CaroWell, we are planning an Alumni meet-up in Latin America in fall next year and hope to organize a Challenge 2.0. The isea is that all participating Alumni from LAC,  with their multidisciplinary backgrounds and ventures, will work on a challenge to create an impact in the region. Keep an eye on this coming meet up! Any ideas from you…are more than welcome 🙂

Beside that I was lucky to meet Lucia from Perú and learn about her great initiative Willakuni. willakuni A social and artistic project that work with women affected by political violence in Peru. I hope to visit her soon again!! Here a picture of both …

Lucia Caro

Next steps of Vivamos el bosque?? well I am first finally translating my blog into spanish and sharing with you news and exciting interviews from some good friends of the Otonga Forest….People who has been following and supporting the initiative want to learn more about Otonga, its people and friends.  Some of the questions I´ve been asked and will try to answer on my next blogs:  what do people who love Otonga think and feel about this forest? why is such an interesting place for so many people? Keep checking my blog… news, histories, interviews and guest blog posts coming soon!

Step by step…how to create a social enterprise?

Our social entrepreneurship program is getting to its end. Last week Vivamos el Bosque held its legal advice workshop at “El Maltón” community. Here, Jorge Muñoz, shared his experience as a business owner and entrepreneur. He gave good advice about certain topics that need to be taken care before “legalizing” any venture. For example, some of our young entrepreneurs are under 18 years old, what makes impossible for them to sign any legal document; and most of them are still studying so their availability is limited.
como construir una empresa Besides that, Vivamos el Bosque shared with the students, a comprehensive list of things to-do to legalize their venture. Where to go? what to bring? how much does it cost?
With this information they can start their business once they feel ready to do so.
One more workshop left!!! keep following the blog!

D&F Graduation!

And the day arrived!!! one of the most amazing experiences I had so far arrived to its end… I am officially graduated from the Engage in Conservation project of D&F Academy and the Jane Goodall Institute. Here a great summary of D&F fellowship.