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Since 1996, Pachamama Alliance has worked in partnership with the indigenous people of the area to protect nearly 8 million acres of tropical rainforest in the South-Central Amazon region of Ecuador from oil and other extractive industries. This equatorial region is home to some of the highest concentrations of biodiversity on the entire planet. One hectare (2.4 acres) of land here can contain more species of trees than all of the U.S. and Canada combined.

Today, on Earth Day, as we reflect on all that has been accomplished by us and others over the past 20 years to build a mutually enhancing human-Earth relationship, we, at Pachamama Alliance, are particularly gratified as the theme of Earth Day this year is, “Trees for the Earth.”

Trees and forests are the lungs of the Earth. These 8 million acres of rainforest in Ecuador we have worked to protect help all of Earth’s beings breathe. They combat climate change by absorbing CO2 from our atmosphere and, according to the Earth Day Network, in a single year one acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of CO2 produced by driving the average car 26,000 miles! In addition to being expert air filters, these leafy, sacred, pillars of the forest give homes to so many rainforest inhabitants—the two-legged, four-legged, no-legged, and multi-legged ones.

Take time today to express your gratitude for trees. If you can’t physically experience trees in nature, remember special trees that have created joy in your life. Perhaps it was a special tree that provided shade to you at a memorable time or a tree that filled the view out of a window of your childhood home where you watched as her wardrobe changed with the seasons. Hold them in your thoughts today with a deep sense of gratitude.

As you may know, “Pachamama,” is a word in the Quechua language of the Andes that some translate simply as “Mother Earth,” but which more accurately includes the sacred presence of the Earth, the sky, the universe, and all time. With increasing human caused disturbance of Pachamama, it is more critical than ever that the tropical rainforest of the Amazon be preserved.

Donors’ financial support of Pachamama Alliance has kept the South-Central Amazon region of Ecuador pristine and free of development. Donate today.

About Pachamama Alliance

The mission of Pachamama Alliance is to empower indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest to preserve their lands and culture and, using insights gained from that work, to educate and inspire individuals everywhere to bring forth a thriving, just and sustainable world.

Protecting the Amazon Rainforest

Since 1997 we have worked in partnership with indigenous people to attain permanent protected status of the sacred headwaters region of the Amazon basin in southern Ecuador and northern Peru, an area of pristine tropical rainforest recognized as containing the highest levels of biodiversity in the entire Amazon basin and possibly the world.

Our initial efforts provided legal and technical expertise to strengthen indigenous self-governance so they could preserve their lands and cultures, including mapping, land titling, and sustainable economic development.

Today, we provide ongoing support to five indigenous nationalities by funding trainings, workshops, administrative support, and special assemblies where indigenous groups can come together to discuss their constitutional rights and define their work to defend their territories from oil and other extractive industries.

At the request of our indigenous partners, we began to bring visitors from the modern world to the rainforest with our Pachamama Journeys program, offering a direct experience of Achuar wisdom and Pachamama Alliance’s vision. These journeys supported—and continue to support—ecotourism projects in Achuar territory, creating economic alternatives beyond selling land to oil companies.

Changing the Dream of the Modern World

To further protect the lands and cultures of the Amazon rainforest, our indigenous partners requested that we work to “change the dream of the modern world”—shifting the culture of separation and overconsumption to a culture that honors and sustains life.

In response to that request, Pachamama Alliance expanded its work to include bringing forth a new dream: an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on this planet.

To do this, Pachamama Alliance created the Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream Symposium as well as the other offerings on the Up to Us engagement pathway—a set of programs designed to equip people with vision, commitment, tools, resources, and community to bring forth a thriving, just, and sustainable world.

These programs are designed to wake people up to the most critical issues of our time; pierce through apathy, resignation, and hopelessness; and inspire, educate and connect people, empowering them to become part of a community working together for game-changing solutions to achieve a new dream for humanity.