‘Otongachi’ se abre al mundo

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Tomado de Diario La Hora…

“Trabajamos por la conservación del monte, de la montaña, debemos aprender a convivir con la selva y con todo lo que tiene por ofrecernos. A las nuevas generaciones se les debe enseñar las utilidades que tienen cada animal y cada plata, mas no destruirlas. Nuestras reservas están abiertas para eso. En Otongachi que se encuentra en la Unión del Toachi estamos construyendo una estación científica que además contará con habitaciones y miradores espectaculares”, dijo Onore.

 

Para ver el articulo completo sigue este enlace

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

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!

Time time time to catch up! Photography workshop 1

I can finally take a deep breath and share with you all about the last two months of Vivamos el Bosque! July and August have been very intense, busy and really great for the project!

As planned… Vivamos el Bosque team has organized and completed successfully its first photography workshop in collaboration with our friends from Tropical Herping. From July 24th to July 29th, 11 participants received 6 hours of theory in Quito about the basics of photography; and they spent two days in the Cloud Forest, where they discovered the magic of the Otonga Forest and had the chance to share a special time with the community of El Maltón. It was a pleasure for me to receive 9 participants from Quito and two special guests from Chile that were travelling in Ecuador when they found out about the workshop. Thank you very much to all the participants, the instructors and our friend and volunteer Celina Perez-Beck for getting involved with Vivamos el Bosque fundraising activities.

The photography workshop had three main objectives. To raise awareness about the importance of protecting the cloud forest in Ecuador; to engage more people in biodiversity conservation through Vivamos el Bosque and to fundraise for the project. I am glad that our 11 participants had the chance to learn from the experts about nature photography while getting to know about Vivamos el Bosque initiative and its close connection with the communities surrounding the otonga cloud forest.

Thank you to all of you for your support and keep in mind that more workshops are coming soon!!

Here, a picture taken by one of our participants, Alejandro Miranda.

Bridging Hearts, Opening Minds and Doing Things Together

Tertulia Científica with Giovanni Onore

Yesterday, we shared a wonderful moment with about 30 friends of Otonga at the “Café Libro” coffee shop in Quito. The objective of the night? to grab a cup of coffee and be part of a lively discussion about the Value of Biodiversity. Giovanni Onore was the perfect ingredient for a fun and informational night full of inspiration, annecdotes, and great insights.
“It is like going back in time and been in one of his lectures” said one of the participants. And it really was like going back in time! Dr. Onore has an amazing power to bring people together and inspire youth. His particular style keep people’s attention and touches everybody’s heart. The message of the night was really straightforward and clear. Ecuador has an incredible biodiversity which make us all proud BUT most important Ecuador has an enormous responsibility to manage and preserve such important biodiversity. How to do that? Onore strongly beleive in the importance of providing education and equal opportunities to everybody so new cutting-edge alternatives can emerge to improve the quality of life of people in total harmony with nature. As part of the night we shared experiences about how to help and how to work for biodiversity conservation. Some good examples of how inspired youth have started great initiatives is the case of FLOARE an enterprise started by Gabriel Iturralde, one of many Onore ex-students. Floare´s main iniciative is the commercialization of baby orchid plants presented as part of an original design, adaptable to urban spaces. Overall, the project is based on borrowing the richness of nature and adapting it to vanguard designs that will provide funds necessary for the social development and conservation of natural Ecuadorian species.
A great initiative with lots of potential considereing that Ecuador has near 4000 species of orquids wich are admired worlwide!!! Congratulations FLOARE!

Another inspiring example is the Centro Jambatu and Wikiri initiative. In one hand, Centro Jambatu is an institute dedicated to research and conservation of Ecuadorian amphibians. It has successfully been implementing the Strategic Plan to safeguard amphibians from extinction by conducting long term monitoring and research, managing amphibians at high risk of extinction in their natural habitat and in the laboratory, providing free access information about the status of Ecuadorian amphibians and promoting outreach and education initiatives. WIKIRI on the other hand, commercialize amphibians and other related products for the pet and educational markets, fighting the illegal wildlife trade and allocating its income to fund research, forest conservation, and education of children and youth in “frog-diverse” areas. Great job Wikiri!

It was a really nice night! Dr. Onore officially invited everybody the event at the communities for the coming 27 of July 2012. The event is called the “Web of Life World Tour: Ecuador”, and we really hope all our friends will come.
Finally, I would like to thank everybody for sharing with us such a lovely night!

A big Hug,

Caro