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From Demons to Dreams

By María José Iturralde, co-founder and director of Humans for Abundance

It is often said that crises can uncover the hidden cracks in systems and release our inner demons. We keep those demons deep inside us for a reason: they hide realities that we don't want to acknowledge because they are too painful. No matter how essential it is to face up to our demons, we prefer to keep them locked away and forgotten.

A little less than three years ago, I had a good job, a family and friends, lots of hobbies, adventurous trips and vacations. A totally normal, happy life. All my demons were quietly locked up in their cells.

I was an important educator at my school, and I taught my students and teachers important life lessons. I felt good living my comfortable life, not too excess, but privileged. I had everything I needed and I lived in harmony with nature. I traveled a little bit by car, I recycled, I had my own vegetable garden, and I taught my kids to love and care for all life.

However, when I least expected it, my demons confronted me and forced a reckoning. I was on a field trip with my students to the Northern Amazon of Ecuador where there are many national and international oil companies that have been extracting crude oil from the earth for more than 50 years.

Our guide, Donald Moncayo, a farmer who was chosen to represent all the people affected by oil extraction in the area, took us to see the results of 50 years of petroleum development.