Sinchi Warmi (Empowered Women) Creating Abundance for All
Meet Mayra, Germania, Rosa, Angelina, María Mercedes, and Inés. They are of the Kichwa people, the largest indigenous nationality in Ecuador, and they live in one of the most beautiful and biodiverse areas of the Amazon Rainforest.
Their work is helping their fellow community members -and many important species of flora and fauna- find their way back to a good life.
Decades ago, the Ecuadorian government forced them to tear down their forests and turn them into “productive lands". They were told that they would lose their properties if they didn’t plant monocrop cultures or raise cattle.
These traditional hunter-gatherer communities who kept their forests alive for millennia were being taught to cut their trees down and implement “modern and superior” (as Mayra was told) western agricultural techniques. These practices include the purchase and application of toxic fertilizers and pesticides, which damage their health and soils and make people dependent on selling their crops.
They became trapped in the cycle of making money to buy what they need to grow more crops. And, worst of all, because they no longer had access to locally-grown and hunted food, they were forced to buy it from outside sources.
Today, these amazing women feel empowered by the opportunity to talk about their identities and roles in their community and the planet.
They are working incessantly to rescue their ancestral practices and grow back the nutrient-rich forests they had before.
Regenerative agriculture is their newfound love. It reflects ancestral traditions while combining technology and knowledge from the western world.
They are growing biodiverse food forests and chakras (forest clearings for sunlight-hungry species) that increase their families’ nutrition and provide greater access to medicinal plants and commercial products they can trade or sell in local markets.
Their children and grandchildren are learning from their example and will soon enjoy the benefits of a life full of abundance.
Lexie, the Soil Whisperer
It’s hard to believe that humanity puts such little emphasis on the health of our soils.
We can’t survive without food and yet we have utterly failed to recognize and respect the incredible micro ecosystem that keeps our soils fertile. Why we continue to promote land management practices that kill the very microorganisms that give us life is beyond understanding.
Lexie believes that humanity’s failures are due to a lack of knowledge of what goes on underground, and she is working hard to change this in her community.
She has dedicated her life to observing (with a microscope) the marvels of life beneath the surface.
It turns out that just like on the surface, complex interdependent systems and food chains need to be intact for the various populations of beings to maintain balance.
Microscopic animals, fungi, and plants must work in harmony or they can become a plague that outgrows the other populations.
Lexie teaches this to people by connecting her projector to her microscope during workshops. People in marginalized communities see, for the first time in their lives, a world that was completely unknown to them.
They understand why those invisible beings need water, nutrients, medicine, and protection from the sun’s UV rays -just like the rest of us on the surface.
She also creates soil “sourdough” batches that have a complete set of microorganisms ready to be infinitely reproduced once she delivers them to people´s farms.
What Lexie does is essential for the restoration of land and forests and we are grateful that women like her are investing their time and energy into saving our soils.
Chochi, Daring for the (Almost) Impossible
There's a really powerful way out of the environmental mess that we created, but it relies on us regular humans to act like a beautifully synchronized ensemble of drummers.
Can we achieve this?
Chochi, our CEO, believes so. That’s why she founded Humans for Abundance, to bring us all together to participate in the biggest clean-up family party that ever existed. A family party, that’s right. After all, this is what Latin Americans do best, right?
Why not create a fun get-together to fix what we broke? We do this all the time in Latin America. We call them “mingas” and they come from the indigenous tradition of working in solidarity amongst friends and neighbors.
Chochi believes that if we leave the doom and gloom story aside and see ourselves as one big human family, everybody would chip in with their available resources to lend a hand.
We could quickly rescue our soils, restore and protect our carbon-sinking ecosystems, clean up water pollution and achieve everything else we can think of related to a healthy environment. (Read how she proposes we achieve this here).
And why not bask in the wonderful feelings of comradery, contribution, and collective enjoyment while we are at it, as if we were all drumming to the same song?
Guilt and fear are not serving us. Let’s try joy and hope for once.
Maybe changing collective human behavior quickly and at a large scale is not possible, but like most crazy entrepreneurs, Chochi has a healthy disregard for the impossible and she’s daring to change the story.