The day began for some people at 6am when they went to Teresinha’s land learn with her and her husband how to harvest manioc.
After breakfast time the group had a check-in about how each person was feeling that day and welcomed the experts who had just arrived by boat: Virgilio Viana, Adalberto Val, Thomas Lovejoy and Lorena San Roman.
Adalberto Val, former president of INPA gave the first class. He spoke about environmental challenges in the amazon. One of the main challenges is to preserve the biodiversity of animals and seeds, especially given that everything is interconnected and is being impacted from deforestation and climate change in the last years. He used the change of water levels and temperature as an example of such a change and the impact this has on species. He presented some valuable examples and numbers about the current context and proposed that is possible to reach a ZERO deforestation rate.
Virgilio Viana, CEO of FAS, elaborated on some of the challenges of sustainable development in the Rio Negro reserve. Virgilio explained that the concept of the reserve is to protect nature and incorporate people by empowering local communities. He talked about the main social, economical and environmental challenges, using construction as an example.
Although the first part of the session took place at the classroom, the second part was an outdoor class along one of Tumbira’s forest trails. During the hike, the experts spoke about forest dynamics of growing and dying. At the end of the walk participants arrived at a natural forest river, and a surprise boat was waiting to take everyone back to camp.
After lunch, Thomas Lovejoy, considered the “father of biodiversity”, spoke about the amazon as a sustainable system. During this class, he introduced the concept of building stability into the amazon and its cycles. He explained that he believes that this path has to be built with cooperation, partner initiatives and collaboration, demarking protected areas in order to diminish deforestation, ending illegal gold mining and other issues of the region. He used the water and rain as an example to illustrate systems.
The final lecture of the day was given by Lorena San Roman, who has been advocating for sustainable development in Costa Rica for years. Her topic was natural protected areas of the amazon. She spoke about the importance of creating public policies to save the amazon. She told the story of Agenda 21 in 1992 and the need to consider people as the center for change to happen. She explained that she believes there are opportunities to promote these changes by using technology and communication that allow the democratic processes to be consolidated and give economy values to biodiversity
As usual, after class participants went for a swim in the river. Sadly, on this occasion a tragic accident occurred. One of the participants - Bryans Mukasa - disappeared in the river and after a search was pulled out of the water. Given that he was not responding to CPR and revival efforts, he had to be taken to Manaus by Raquel, Isabel, Pedro and Roberto to seek emergency medical attention.
Bruna and all other participants stayed in Tumbira waiting for information. It was a time of intense pain and agony. At the same time, there were many moments of conversations, love and care. Some hours later Roberto came back from Manaus with the very sad information that Bryans had not resisted and had died. He also said that Raquel, Isabel and Pedro had stayed in Manaus and would come back the next day. It was an intense night of loss and uncertainty. A night when the deep humanity was right in front of each person. The maximum of pain, the maximum of love and trust in life. No roles, no masks. Only what was pure and raw inside of each person.
From course day check out
● We are just one (group or person) trying to solve a very complex (issue) but don’t worry. There is time. It is all very new.”
● “We can start doing because they ( Virgilio, Adalberto, Lorena and Thomas) have already pioneered approaches in the field”
● “Multistakeholder approach to planning.”
● Power of education”
● “Bring community people’s values to cities.”
● “ Dead trees feed new ones.”
● Learning in the forest was very interesting.”
● “Using skills of communities to new sustenterpreneurs.”
● Importance of public policies.”
● Correlating back home ( to our Amazon).”
● “What is development.”
● “Education is needed for multidimensional complex problems.”
From lectures, learned about:
● statistics and numbers about the amazon( population, ethnic groups, hydro system)
● biodiversity in the amazon Climate Change impact and it causes in the Amazon.
● characteristics of the rivers
● Fish diversity
● challenges the reserves face
Gained an understanding about social ( education and health/ social organization/rural exodus/ violence) , economic ( Climate Change adaptation/ economic alternatives community based tourism, agroforestry) and environmental (reduction of deforestation and it causes) spheres.
● Understood the number of Reserves FAS work with in the rio negro reserves and the size area.
● Gained a sense of how real and fast changes are in the amazon
● Saw the Amazon as a big system
● Uncovered the history of the concept of sustainability
Made connections between what they are experiencing in the Amazon with the context and theories.
Got closer to the Amazon.
Participants supported, connected and displayed care for each other in Tumbira during the wake of Bryans’ accident FAS supports Raquel, Isabel and Pedro in order to be in the crisis and take next steps together regarding the hospital, police, communication, insurance, and transport.