Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hi there

For the next six weeks, I will travel along the Amazon River with Dr. Campbell Plowden, president of the Center for Amazon Community Ecology (CACE) in State College, Pennsylvania. We will visit several communities in Loreto province, Peru, including Pebas, Brillo Nuevo and Jenaro Herrera.

I will interview village artisans and write profiles about them for CACE´s Amazon Store. I will learn how they transform bark into canvas, and how they paint using natural dyes.

I will also assist Campbell with researching the resin of the copal tree. Locals use resin to caulk their canoes. They also burn it for light and a pleasant aroma. CACE´s goal is to create a product from this resin that forest-based communties could make and sell as a source of sustainable income. Ideally, this extra income would deter the communities from logging, which would decrease deforestation. But first we have to determine if all of this is economically and ecology feasible. I´ll get into the details later.

That´s the formal explanation of why I´m here, but I don´t like formalities. Simply put, I´m going to the rainforest to talk to people, and to share their stories with you. Stick around and you´ll find out the rest.

This blog won´t be a chronicle, but rather a brainstorm. It will be honest, biased and personal. In exchange, I hope to hear your thoughts, too.