An open wound (let’s protect the trees)

Overlooking Alto Shilcayo

In Tarapoto, living and dreaming are the same thing.

The music coming from the houses begins to be heard to the rhythm of the first rays of light with which the sun paints with life one of the most beautiful places in the world. Just meters from the city, the green that floods the landscapes, the pink clouds, the unique rarity of exotic trees, colorful birds, the endless diversity of an abundant fauna, and the smiles of simple people who dance when they walk and sing while they talk, they complement each other to form an earthly paradise that nature decided to create in the middle of the Peruvian jungle. Perfect and dazzling, it is impossible to set foot in this place without being invaded by a powerful need to protect it.

Global deforestation has reached unprecedented levels. Human beings tirelessly destroy the resources that guarantee their own existence with irresponsibility that is as painful as incomprehensible. A multi-million dollar industry that promotes illegal activities such as logging, informal mining, and land trafficking has consolidated a market of death that mercilessly plunders all the natural bastions that sustain life on our planet. Added to this tragedy is an immense ignorance that promotes a false abundance of resources where in reality, there is only a delicate articulation of ecosystems. One of humanity’s goals is to protect life on this planet. However, this fragile natural harmony is under threat by the greed of immoral men who rely on the poverty of locals abandoned by their respective states, who in their eagerness to find a livelihood end up destroying it. Man kills in hours what Mother Nature meticulously created for centuries, and it is precisely this disproportion that threatens the continuity of our species.

As a frequent visitor to the city of Tarapoto, I have witnessed this terrible attack on nature many times. Just a few days ago Laura asked me to accompany her to the city. We asked for a mototaxi to travel the thirty-minute trip that separates the town of Aucaloma from Tarapoto. Thirty minutes that are the dream of any traveler. The open sky is invaded by exotic birds whose beauty can only rival that of trees and flowers that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Sadly, this time the amazement and gratitude I always felt while traveling this path was replaced in a matter of seconds by hatred and pain. An immense tractor perpetuated a gigantic wound in the middle of the landscape. With the justification of dividing several hectares, the heirs of a single family decided to tear off an immense piece of skin from the valley with the intention of selling the lots at a miserable price. A machine had left a sore in the middle of the earth, which when sliding moved like a raw wound that throbbed with pain, without anyone being able to heal it, or at least trying to.

an open wound in the middle of the forest

The price of scarcity

It’s painful to say, but sometimes I feel ashamed to be a human being. It is not only our inability to protect life, it is that arrogance that makes us believe that we have the right to destroy what nature has designed in a perfect way. It is not only our immaturity or evil that we are capable of expressing, it is actually our indifference that prevents us from attacking the problem of conserving the planet, generating and transmitting ideas that help us fulfill our function of protecting everything that lives. Perhaps this will finally happen when a wound in the middle of the virgin forest hurts us as much as if it were our skin that is torn off, and our own heart that ends up exposed by the wound, exactly as it happened with me, on that sunny morning, when human ignorance decided to harm paradise.

When considering buying land, please ask “where are the trees?!?”

I write the phrase “human ignorance”, because even to profit illegally it is necessary to handle certain concepts, no matter how elementary they may be. You don’t need a degree in economics to understand the scarcity principle. It explains the following: The price of anything appreciates or depreciates depending on the level of difficulty with which it can be acquired. The more scarce, the more expensive, and vice versa. In marketing, the term “exclusive” is used a lot to refer to this principle. Just put that word after any other and it will immediately be understood that we are talking about anything but cheap. Under this logic, I would like to ask you a question: What can be scarcer than a tree carefully manufactured over decades and that does not exist anywhere else on the planet? What is its price? Well, believe it or not, I have met men who think that destroying fifty of them should cost no more than six thousand Peruvian soles.

Less than $2000 is the price for which some entrepreneurs sell a plot of land in the middle of paradise. The shocking thing is that before doing so, they “clean” off their trees, destroying their differential value. The trees we have mentioned are not only absurdly devalued, but they are also destroyed forever, causing an immense impact on the planet and human life. The destruction that takes place here, not only responds to one of the most brutal attacks against nature that could be witnessed, but it is also impossible to propose a more absurd financial move.

36 years of deforestation at Mato Grosso, Brazil / Google earth

Saving Tarapoto is also a claim for humanity. Google Earth, in partnership with NASA, published a timeline showing man-made destruction in the Mato Grosso rainforest in Brazil. Only ten seconds lasts the gruesome summary of thirty-six years in which the man left in rubble of murdered earth what was previously abundant and virgin forest. That is exactly what will happen to paradise if we continue to allow the skin to be ripped from it.

If love for nature is not enough to convince human beings to fully comply with their mission to protect life. If the shortage of oxygen for the next generations of human beings or the destruction of the abundant fauna of the planet are not important for many, at least we collaborate to orient their greed towards more optimal processes.

Taking care of the planet can be profitable

Caring for and preparing these lands for responsible human presence. The math is simple: A habitable piece of land will always be worth more than a piece of land that will take decades to restore. Taking care of the planet can be profitable.

The deterioration of the environment is a problem that affects us all. It is not enough just to understand the magnitude of this threat, but it is vital to participate in the solution.

Tarapoto and Mato Grosso are just a few examples of something that is happening in many parts of the world.

It is our responsibility to be vigilant and protect the only planet we have.

It is not enough to leave the responsibility to the politicians, it is necessary that all human beings on earth become aware of the way in which we are endangering our own future.

There is much to do, your attention and effort could truly make a difference.

What can you do?

  • Plant more trees.
  • Take care of the ones we have. Nature is your home. You’re not doing it a favor by taking care of it; you’re helping it take care of you and everyone you love.
  • When considering buying land, demand to maintain and protect the flora and fauna of the area.
  • Be aware of the great benefits that trees bring you. They are a fundamental element for the ecological balance of the planet. Without them, your lungs are just organs.
  • Be vigilant and denounce deforestation. No one has the right to enter your home and destroy your garden. The Amazon is the great garden of humanity, and evil men are killing it daily.
  • Explore pachama.com, teamtrees.org and salvaje.pe to support reforestation projects. You can plant a few trees for the price of a pizza.
  • Hug a tree! They can feel the love <3. Yes, it sounds corny, I know, but if we don’t act now, we might never have the chance.

Why do I care?

Throughout my journey, nature has become a great part of my being. I have witnessed the power of nature, I have witnessed its fragility.

These days, I am involved in a project for the sustainable urbanization of Yanashpa Village. We are reforesting more than nine thousand plants with great care towards diversity and sustainability; I also make frequent donations to reforestation projects in the Peruvian Amazon and regularly attend conversations with locals to explain the importance of protecting and preserving the gift that has been given to us.

In the coming years, I plan to continue these efforts by investing further in green technologies, reforestation, and the protection of our planet. Contact me for collaborations, there are many opportunities to explore.

You don’t have to become a full-time environmentalist. It is enough that you care about everyone’s future; from planting a tree for a donation of one dollar on platforms such as pachama.com or teamtress.org, or doing something as simple as using your smartphone’s camera to report any type of environmental destruction on social media. Talk about it and explain to your family and friends how stupid it is to destroy the only home we all have.

No matter what your actions are, the only thing unacceptable is your indifference.

In the land of pink clouds

Just a few days ago I was observing a machete, the locals use it to harvest crops or to make way through the jungle. It’s funny, but a good part of the solution to this problem lies in properly using the sharp metal of these devices. A few men could carefully prune just a few trees, preparing a piece of land, carefully cutting the green mane of paradise while creating enough space to build a country house surrounded by trees.

I can imagine that place: a bamboo-made shelter with a view of the rainbow, flown over by pink clouds that can be seen above the treetops. I imagine a hammock, the cleanest air in the world entering through the lungs, and the strange need to get away from any electronic device. Then I imagine the warmth of the sunset leaving its red glow on the green earth before the night begins, and so every day with calm and patience, feeling how nature and human beings give each other enough time to heal their wounds.

Yanashpa Village

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