Geoff Lawton: Pioneer of Food Forestry. TALKS …


I’m at our project in the Dead Sea Valley in Jordan, one of the lowest and and driest places on Earth. Here we see permaculture transforming such a harsh degraded place into an oasis of abundance.

By contrast, I just learned that one of the highest, wettest, and most species-rich ecosystems on the planet is slated for destruction. I spoke in a recent video about the threat from mining to the Los Cedros Reserve in Ecuador. Now our friends at the Rainforest Information Centre and their Ecuadorian partners have discovered that Los Cedros is only one of 39 previously protected forests totaling nearly ¾ million hectares and a million hectares of indigenous territories that have been concessioned to multinational mining companies. This was done secretly without the prior informed consent of the indigenous peoples and local communities, in violation of the Ecuadorian Constitution and the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

This is an environmental and human disaster not only for Ecuador, but the entire world. Ecuador has the highest biodiversity per square kilometer of any nation. Most of the areas affected by these concessions are within the ‘Tropical Andes’, the most diverse of the world’s 36 ‘Biodiversity Hotspots’, that are the world’s top priority areas for conservation. These forests are at the headwaters of both the Amazon and Chocó Rainforests, whose rivers empty into the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Industrial mining is the world’s most massively destructive and toxic industry. These mines will impact not only local communities, but entire watersheds with acidified heavy metal-laden waters from source all the way to the oceans. (Heavy metals like mercury, cadmium, and lead, concentrate in the tissues of living organisms –including humans- as they move up the food chain.)

Andean cloud forests are primary producers of water and climate stability at local, regional, and global levels. At a time when we are witnessing climate chaos throughout the world on a daily basis, it is insane to destroy our last fountains of hope to heal our abused planet.

Permaculture provides a powerful framework to design solutions, but is dependent on three ethical principles: Care of the Earth; Care of people; Share surplus to reinvest toward these ends.

Mining in Ecuador’s rainforests does the opposite: it devastates Earth’s most critical ecosystems and communities to concentrate wealth in the hands of a few, leaving gaping wounds that will leach toxins into the biosphere for centuries. This is totally unnecessary to meet the true economic needs of civilization. Minerals for industry can be provided without destroying our life-support system. True-cost accounting, biomimetic innovations in resource efficiency, reduction of built-in obsolescence, and the recycling of minerals already mined could supply world demand almost in its entirety. We need to enjoin global financial institutions to stop subsidizing destructive mining and invest in such cutting-edge alternatives. But first we must make a stand to defend the heart of the Tropical Andes: Ecuador’s rainforests!

We had a tremendous impact with our prior video for Los Cedros. My old friend John Seed tells me that 1000 petition signatures and over half the $18,000 raised to protect Los Cedros streamed in during the days following our last video and that this money paid for the research which unearthed the horrifying statistics I’ve just shared with you.

Please help the campaign by Ecuadorean civil society to rescind these concessions by signing the PETITION and by supporting the CROWDFUND.

  • Geoff Lawton

Found hereEnvironmental scraps