World Environmental DayWednesday 5th of June 2013
This year Botanical Park participated at the World Environmental Day´s event carried out in Puyo city. The propose of the stand set up by the Park was to raise global awareness of the need to take positive environmental action like reforestation and organic food production.
Utopia´s FairSunday 2nd of June 2013
Botanical Park Los Yapas participated at the “Feria de las Utopías” (Utopia´s fair) an exhibition done every year by ecological organizations. The aim of the Exhibition is to show different proposals for a post-extractivist economy. A variety of projects are proposed in order to avoid oil exploitation. These projects show that Ecuadorian economy can change in order to preserve life and the most important and relevant beauties of Ecuador. Botanical Park Los Yapas was invited to this fair as a model project of nature´s restoration and conservation. The goal of the Botanical Park Los Yapas´ stand was to show that reforestation can be a source of water conservation, ecotourism, food, medicinal products and biodiversity restoration. Projects like this Park could be multiplied and create a new way of economy where the indigenous communities could receive directly their own incomes and get a better quality of life. These are alternatives to avoid rain forest destruction due to oil exploitation. These are initiatives that can help to protect real treasures as Yasuní, the most biodiverse National Park of the world.
World Water DayFriday 22nd of March 2013
Botanical Park Los Yapas celebrated World Water Day by planting endemic and native trees from Amazonian Rainforest. As a nature's restoration project, Botanical Park Los Yapas considers that the most important and necessary ways to maintain, create and improve the quality and quantity of fresh water available to future generations is reforestation and nature conservation. This is why the project is a model of what we can all do in order to ensure a better environment and way of life.
Silvester at Los YapasSaturday 31st of December 2012
Botanical Park Los Yapas celebrated Silvester by planting 30 endemic and native trees. This is a special and at the same time very usual way to thank Nature for the great year and for the fantastic experience she allows us to live at the Park. Many of the trees have been planted to honor special people who have supported this dream during the whole year. To all the people who care about environment and other species, for those who share the same dream of building a new society with more respect and love… Happy New Year 2013!
Day of Indigenous ResistanceFriday 12th of October 2012
Today Botanical Park Los Yapas planted around 50 endemic and native trees with the collaboration of the ecological organization Allpa Mashikuna (https://www.facebook.com/allpa.mashikuna?fref=ts) from the Univeristy of Ibarra.
Both organizations commemorated the day that Indigenous from America´s Continent resisted to the colonization of European people. It was in 1492 that Columbus landed in America and since then this continent has known different kinds of colonization. Nowadays we talk about colonization from big companies like Coca Cola, Nestlé, Shell, Texaco, etc… that have generated an important impact in American societies by causing damages in a social, economic, environmental and cultural way.
The importance of working together in doing activities like reforestation is to prove that human beings are able to create alternatives in order to restore these impacts.
Day of Indigenous ResistanceWednesday 12th of October 2011
Children, youth and adults honored Mother Earth and the 519 years of Indigenous Resistance by planting endemic and native trees in Los Yapas’ Botanical Park. A tribute to our Mother Earth that has given us so much and to indigenous from Latin-America that keep fighting against colonialism and exploitation in the old (Columbus, Pizarro, Cortés, etc..) and new fashion ways (Texaco, Petrobras, Repsol, etc…).
Art for YasuniFriday 10th of June 2011
Concert for life organized by Anima Naturalis and Botanical Park Los Yapas celebrating the World Environment Day and promoting the protection of the Yasuni. Many artists from different parts of Ecuador participated with paintings, music and juggling. These event was part of the campaign to protect Yasuni.
Celebrating World Environment DaySaturday 5th of June 2011
Botanical Park Los Yapas participated on an special event in Ambato dedicated to the Environmental conservation. Our natural medicinal products obtained from the Botanical Park's plants and all the ideas and objectives of the forests' restoration project we have were exposed. The aim was to show people what is our project about and invite them to be part of the dream of reforesting the forests of the world. As human beings we can do very nice and beautiful things too....
Dr. Chivian and his support to Yasuni's Protection
Noticeable scientists such as: Edward O. Wilson, David Newman, Thomas Emmel and Eric Chivian came to Ecuador to participate in the 1st International Summit of Biodiversity that was carried out on May 16th and 17th 2011.
Dr. Eric Chivian agreed to give us an interview as part of his support to Yasuni’s Protection Campaign.
Dr. Eric Chivian is Founder and Director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment, and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, at Harvard Medical School. Winner of the Peace Nobel Prize in 1985 and author of several books and publications related to health, biodiversity and environment, Dr. Chivian is above all a charismatic person who has always worked to increase public awareness about global environmental change and its consequences in human health. His intellectual contribution was expressed throughout his talk at the Summit, where he emphasized how important is to Ecuador and the humanity to conserve the largest wealth of this country, its biodiversity. Here, the first part of the interview:
LY: What do you know about Yasuni?
I know that the Yasuni reserve is very large; it is pristine rain forest with some indigenous people who live there; it has a great deal of diversity of life, both plant and animal, and probably microbial as well, and that it is threatened because there are 850 million barrels of oil underneath, which people want to drill for. So there is a big discussion or battle going on about whether the forest should be preserved or exploited. That is what I know.
LY: What do you think about the proposal of leaving the oil underground?
I am medical doctor, I am the director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, and I am very supportive of leaving the oil underground for several reasons. One is we should be burning less oil and less fossil fuels, not more oil. The world is undergoing a rapidly developing emergency, because of our excessive burning of fossil fuels, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are now 385 or so parts per million per volume. They have not been above 280 parts per million by volume, we know for sure for over 600 000 years and may be for several million years, and so we are at levels that have not existed for all of the time that human beings, our species Homo sapiens has been on earth.
Our species has been on earth for only 195 000 years so we are now living with carbon dioxide levels that are far above anything we have experienced. We know for certain because you can drill in the Antarctic ice and you can find out what carbon dioxide levels were 600 000 years ago (the deeper you go the older the ice core is). We have done that and have found the human beings have increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and these are now warming the earth. Last year, 2010, was the warmest year for the Earth, tied with the year 2005, of any year since 1850 when these global temperatures were first accurately measured for the Earth. We know that. The last 10 warmest years on record have been since 1998, so the Earth is definitively getting warmer. What happens when the Earth gets warmer is that there is more water from the ocean and from the land that evaporates into the atmosphere, creating droughts and crop failures in some areas. This increased evaporation also brings more water into the atmosphere, so that when the temperature drops, you get tremendously heavy rains and flooding.
The USA now has the worst flooding of the Mississippi River because of these record-breaking heavy rains flooding millions of acres of farm land, destroying peoples’ homes, destroying crops, killing people from drowning. This also happened in Pakistan, this happened in Australia last year. There were also more severe heat waves, droughts, and crop failures.
In Russia last summer, for example, an estimated 15,000 people died from the fires, the heat, and the crop failures and drought. So the planet is entering a catastrophe in terms of climate change, in terms of the loss of species, the damage to crops, the melting of glaciers. What are cities in the Andes going to do for water? Cities like Bogota, like La Paz, which depend on the water from the glaciers to supply them with drinking water. What will they do when there are no more glaciers when they have melted?
These are public health catastrophes and people don´t understand, they don´t understand what is going on. So we need to burn less oil, not more oil, the oil needs to be underground also, because we need to preserve forests which suck up some of the carbon dioxide we have poured into the atmosphere. If you cut the forest down then you release more carbon dioxide in the process and you remove a sink that is taking up carbon dioxide, so you are increasing atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide in two ways. And, in addition you are destroying in the Yasuni some of the greatest diversity of life on the planet.
Ecuador has the greatest diversity of life for its area of any country in the world. It has the third greatest diversity of amphibians, it has enormous plant diversity, bird diversity, orchid diversity so yours is a very very rich country. If that gets destroyed you not only will lose this wonder of life, but you will lose important medicines. You will create the possibility of more infectious diseases. Let me give you two examples: there is a frog in Ecuador called the Ecuadorian poison frog, its Latin name is Epipedobates tricolo and there is a poison in its skin that has been investigated, and it is a very potent pain killer, as good or better than morphine , the best pain killer we have. And it was very important because it didn´t lead to something called tolerance, which is the condition in which opiates like morphine may not work as well when you take them at high doses for a prolonged period of time.
Tolerance is a great problem for those with severe chronic pain because the medicine essentially stops working. This medicine from this Ecuadorian frog did not cause tolerance, so it was an extremely important medicine. It couldn’t be used, because it was too toxic to people, had too many and too severe side effects, but it may still lead to other pain-killers that will be as effective but not toxic. You also have 13 species of cone snails off the coast of Ecuador, they live in coral reefs, and each of those species has 200 different poisons that could become important medicines --for protecting cells in the brain when people have strokes, for protecting cells in the heart during heart attacks, for treating severe epilepsy or convulsions that is not responsive to other medications, for treating heart rhythm problems.
In these snails these poisons haven´t even been looked at; no one knows what medicines are in there, and there are good indications that they contain very important medicines as other cone snail poisons have done; no one knows what medicines are in 460 species of amphibians that are in Ecuador, some of which are in the Yasuni rain forest. If you destroy the rain forest you destroy those animals, you destroy the possibility of medicines that could treat human diseases that aren´t being treated very well or at all. You destroy the possibility of curing diseases that kill people and cause enormous human suffering.
LY: Considering that we are a country that depends a lot on oil. Which alternatives can you suggest us instead of oil exploitation?
Many. Let me just tell you one more thing about rainforests. If you cut the forest you increase the risk of people in that area getting severe Malaria. There have been very clear studies that say that the mosquito Anopheles gambiae, the mosquito that carries the most severe form of Malaria, falciparum malaria, bites people at a rate that is 300 times greater in areas that have been deforested than in those where the forest is intact, greatly increasing the risk of malaria in those deforested regions. . The same is true for Chagas disease, which affects almost 200 000 people in Ecuador. When you cut down the forest you end up increasing the risk of getting Chagas diseases, because the deforested areas favor a type of mammal, opossum in English, the Latin name is Didelphis that is the best host for Chagas disease which affects the heart and the intestines. It´s a terrible disease. So the forest is protecting us from getting serious infections that kill people, that cause great suffering. So that has to be mentioned. It´s not just medicines or models for medical research that are lost with the loss of the forest. Intact forests like an intact Yasuni are also preventing infectious disease that kills people.
So what are the alternatives? Well, there is a potential for ecotourism which has not to my knowledge really been developed to a great degree in Ecuador except in the Galapagos. There’s a tremendous interest in ecotourism. Ecuador could serve as a model for the world. We are at the crossroads, we are right here, and we can go this way or we can go that way. This way is cutting down the forest.
Essentially it will never grow back again in the same way. Never. The pristine forest will be gone forever. For all people to come. Or we can go that way and preserve the forest, preserve its resources for all time. We want Ecuador to be an example for the rest of the world about valuing its nature, valuing what it gives us, what it provides for us. There are also all kinds of other products from the rain forest in addition to medicines, cashew nuts, coffee, etc., but I think ecotourism may be the biggest product, the biggest maker of money. Of course, the value of intact forests to the world in environmental and health terms because they serve to take up carbon dioxide is enormous, in money terms as well.
LY: I just wanted to know how could you help us in the campaign, how could you be involved?
I can´t be directly involved. I can only help with providing information like in this interview, with helping people understand the value of the Yasuni and other areas of incredible biodiversity in Ecuador, so that they don’t destroy it.
It is also important to stress that in this Summit, Edwar O. Wilson (winner of several international awards, among them the Pulitzer Prize in literature and the Crafoord Prize, equivalent to the Nobel Prize, but in the area of Biology) at the end of his presentation highlighted that “a society is defined not only by what it creates, but by what it refuses to destroy”.
ConferencesWednesday 4th of May 2011
We started the cycle of conferences given by Botanical Park Los Yapas in colleges and schools of Puyo city. The talks are about the importance of environmental conservation, pollution problems, the destruction of the environment for the exploitation of oil and the threat to the Yasuní-ITT.
Conscious ArtFriday 29th of April 2011
Botanical Park Los Yapas participated in the parade of Puyo City's celebrations with the topic: Let's Conserve our Mother Earth. Youth and children of the bilingual school Amauta Ñanpi paraded representing 5 different nationalities inhabiting the province of Pastaza. The main message was: "- oil + life". This and other messages related to the protection of Yasuni were emphasized.
The same day began the program of urban art by painting a big wall in a central part of the city. Painters and artists from various countries participated in this activity. The mural subject was: Conservation of the Environment. This is the way the movement to promote the Conscious Art in Puyo city started. It will continue with workshops of painting for young people from schools during the month of May.
Botanical Park Los Yapas acknowledge the donations from Logiciel's workers who made this Urban Art Day possible.
Supporting Yasuni’s campaign for its protectionSaturday 5th of March 2011
Botanical Park Los Yapas participated in Carnaval for Life celebrated in Coca. This event took place in order to continue with the campaign to protect Yasuni and promote the Yasuni-ITT proposal.
As botanical Park we work to restore nature but also to conserve natural treasures. Therefore we participate permanently in the campaign to protect Yasuni (www.amazoniaporlavida.org).