My Journey to Ecuador, by Ryan Harb
Ryan Harb is a young, passionate and awarded permaculture designer living in Massachusetts. He went on a journey to Ecuador with The Pachamama Alliance this summer, and now shares with us his experience and excitement about the possibilities for the Amazon rainforest.
The best statement I can think to summarize the experience is this: I felt that I was re-learning what it is to be a human being again. The indigenous people of Sarayaku, the shamans in the high Andes and the Achuar communities have all made such a powerful impact on my life and I am now and forever changed from my time spent with them.
The website read it would be a journey of a lifetime. For me, this does even come close to describing the incredible experience I had. No words can for that matter. But I am going to try and share (the best I can) a glimpse into what was a profound and expansive journey for me.
An Introduction to Their Worldview
We hiked through the rainforests and connected deeply with the people, plants and wildlife of the Amazon. We also learned first-hand the devastation and ecological destruction that comes from oil development as well as other short-term economic gains from predatory resource extraction. We exchanged stories from our western culture and were given the opportunity to see the world differently, a glimpse into a lens, when being introduced to the worldview of the indigenous people.
The Most Significant Potential of Their Land
Ecuador is one of the most bio-diverse and culturally-diverse places on the planet. If they (and we) can keep the oil below ground, can keep the roads from being built, and forge a new sustainable future of long-term economic, environmental and social regeneration – it can truly be a tipping point in the world. This is my hope and I am confident that together, we will achieve this. It is all part of creating a sustainable, just and peaceful world for our children and future generations.
Challenges and obstacles will certainly come up along the way. But with a clear vision of a sustainable future, there is no stopping us on our path of regenerating.
More About Ryan Harb
Ryan Harb, MS, LEED AP, is a certified permaculture designer, instructor, White House Champion of Change, and Permaculture Academic Program Coordinator at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has spoken internationally about converting underused or abused landscapes into edible, ecological, and regenerative ecosystems and has a passion for helping shift our culture toward more sustainable ways of living. You can view his most recent project here.