As a child, I used to watch the migration of Neotropical mammals from one side of the Napo River to the other – and so many thousands of fish migrating up river that I could catch one with my bare hands.
Over time, these natural marvels have faded – fewer mammals migrate and fish still swim upriver but in lower numbers due to overhunting and overfishing. Indigenous people can sell all the meat they can catch to the oil companies’ workers on big boats and barges, while crude oil leaks out and into the groundwater. Today, the fish migration continues, and our younger generation is still lucky to see it. But if we all don`t decide together to protect nature, future generations won`t be so lucky.
We, the local peoples, know the value of the rainforest and what it means to humans. I feel so fortunate to have seen these events and witness this natural abundance. I’m sad that I must now rely on childhood memories and the true stories that I can pass on to historians.
But I do not feel that it is too late. We can each help to restore the rainforest – starting with our own behavior and consumption. We can watch changes in our consumption help to enhance the environment.
There are many, many people willing to carry this message across the world. Protection of the world’s ecosystems expands as more and more travelers see the beauty alongside uncontrolled devastation. This is how I met Phil Williams, founder and CEO of “plan-it eco” and Sharon Gaffney, founder and CEO of Verde Business Solutions in the UK. They wrote and produced a play in the PUMP HOUSE THEATRE AND ARTS CENTRE in Watford to create awareness of what is happening to the Amazon Rainforest and to other rainforests around the world. They invited me to participate in their play and to answer questions from their audiences about the problems facing the Amazon Rainforest and its indigenous peoples. They were eager to know what they could do to help from wherever they called home.
My visit to UK and Scotland, supported by Dan Dark, Senior Vice President and Managing Director Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, Chris Luff, Founder of Chamber of Conscience and also Sharon Gaffney, has been a trigger for my wife and me to continue sharing the message. We want to show the reality as it is now and not to close our eyes, or create a rainforest phantasy-land, to the harm happening in our backyard and our neighbors’ garden. RESPECT TRAVEL is our answer to creating awareness and to offering a refreshing travel experience in the Amazon.
Interview with Javier in September 2018