Preserving the Amazon Rainforest: Sacha’s Commitment in 2018
In the Summer of 2017, Sacha Agency chief strategist Alan Howard and chief operations officer Garry Junkuhn, spent a month deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon. They lived among the native Kichwa tribe, experiencing first-hand their hunter-gatherer lifestyle and natural way of living.
They also saw first-hand the destruction and exploitation of the land, tribes, plant, and animal wildlife.
This is why Sacha Agency is committed to providing 15% of our total profits to developing projects that support the Kichwa tribe, the largest ethnic group throughout the Ecuadorian Amazon region.
2018 was the beginning of our commitment, and here we share three major projects that we were able to support throughout the year.
What Projects Have We Developed in 2018?
Our immediate goal at Sacha is to support the Kichwa people, by working with the community, and listening to what they need to develop sustainable projects.
The Kichwa tribe have full control of their land, including any decision to sell parts of it. With no other way for them to make money for vital supplies, oil companies have been taking advantage for their own interests.
We have been able to start our work with the tribe by developing these three projects in 2018:
1. Radio Communications Tower
The Kichwa community’s only radio tower was damaged and no longer working, cutting off access to vital services. The radio tower provides the tribes only communication to support from outside the forest including; doctors, hospitals, and the Ecuadorian government.
This is extremely important in critical situations such as:
- Wild jaguar attacks.
- Poisonous snake bites.
- Critical illness which requires western medicine.
In those cases, it is vital for them to be able to communicate and get help.
The only other way they had to raise funds for a new tower was by selling part of their land to oil companies. To avoid having to sell their land, we provided the funds for them to purchase a new radio tower.
2. Ethically Provide Educational Supplies
Families among the Kichwa tribe need educational and school supplies for their children. One of the topics among the tribe in 2018 was how they can raise the funds for the equipment they require.
Around 60 of the families were unable to provide their children with school supplies. During their discussions, many of the families were going to vote in favor of selling land to the oil companies to raise money.
With no other way of raising the money, it seemed as though more of the Yasuni would be going to an oil company.
To help prevent more land being lost, we worked with youth leaders in the tribe to provide every family with all the school supplies they required, allowing the Kichwa tribe to keep their land from further destruction.
3. Vital River Cleanup and Preservation
There is a single river that runs through their village, providing food and transportation for supplies.
It is vital to the survival of the tribe and their traditions that the river is clean; something oil companies are threatening.
Oil spills and deadly garbage is polluting the river, killing the Amazon river wildlife and making it unsafe for them to use.
We have started a cleanup operation, working with people from the tribe to help educate them on the effects of litter and remove dangers such as:
- Lithium Batteries
- Tin Cans
- Oil Spillage
We are dedicated to the sustainability of the tribe and environment. We have been able to provide jobs for three members of the tribe leading the cleanup operation.
They have also built multiple wooden trash cans throughout the village and importantly a new recycling hut.
This provides a sustainable method of removing harmful items like plastic and batteries, which does not negatively impact their environment or the delicate ecology.
Commitment of 15%
Our Commitment was born from seeing the devastating effects oil companies have on the Amazon and the Kichwa Tribes way of living. At Sacha Agency we pledge 15% of our total profits to help support and protect the Amazon to develop sustainable projects.
Alan and Garry spent their time in the Yasuni region, which spreads deep into the Ecuadorian Amazon. They were fully immersed into the beauty of the wildlife, the traditional way of living, and were even honored by the tribe leaders before leaving.
They also saw how oil corporations are exploiting the Kichwa tribe for their land and damaging the environment. The rate of deforestation and waste being left behind is threatening their entire way of life.
Protecting the Yasuni National Park
The Yasuni is widely recognized as one of the most important and uniquely biodiverse regions on the planet.1 Thanks in part to its location at the crossroads of the Andes, Equator, and Amazon.
Yasuni contains over 4,000 known plant species, 173 mammals, and is home to many indigenous tribes. A single hectare of Yasuni contains more tree species (655) than the entire United States and Canada alone.2
Moretecocha is one of the largest communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon. They depend on the Yasuni region for every aspect of their lives. They are a multicultural community made up of various indigenous nationalities including:
They live by the philosophy of ‘Sumak Kawsay’ which means: ‘To live in harmony with ourselves, with our community, and with nature’.
25 years ago, the oil companies began to make their way into the Yasuni region, exploiting the tribe leaders to start drilling. The effects of the first drills are still being felt by the community today.
The rivers that provide their food and vital for the ecosystem, are still contaminated from oil spills. Many species of fish were wiped out while large areas of land have become uninhabitable and unsafe for the people that rely on it to survive.
The community is under constant threat from oil companies looking to exploit their land. In 2013, President Rafael Correa was forced to cancel the Yasuni-ITT initiative, which was designed to protect the region from oil drilling.3
This has left the region with no protection from oil companies, which are already drilling underneath the land. There is an estimated 287M barrels of crude oil lying underneath the Yasuni soil, which is putting the Amazon Rainforest biodiversity under serious threat. Plans to drill almost 100 wells are already in place.4
This is why our commitment at Sacha to help protect the Amazon Rainforest and indigenous tribes in the region is crucial.
Why Is the Amazon Rainforest Important?
The Amazon Rainforest is the largest rainforest in the world, and one of the most important. The forest covers over nine countries in South America, and its impact is felt across the entire globe.
The tropical forest contains over 400 billion trees which absorb a huge amount of carbon dioxide, providing vital regulation of our entire atmosphere.
Many of the plants have medicinal properties, which are used by pharmaceutical companies in western medicine to cure and prevent many of the world’s diseases.5
Hundreds of Amazon Rainforest tribes live traditionally throughout the region, which provides every resource required for indigenous people to continue existing today. 6
How Much of the Amazon Rainforest Has Been Destroyed?
Amazon Rainforest deforestation destroys an estimated 78 million acres of land and 50,000 animal, plant, and insect species every year.7
Different interest companies such as illegal logging, oil, and cattle ranching continue to pressure tribes to sell land from the rainforest. The threat of losing the Amazon is serious, and so are the consequences.
25% of Western pharmaceuticals come from plant sources in the rainforest, yet it is estimated only 1% of the plants have currently been tested by scientists.8
The importance of the Amazon extends beyond its borders to every corner of the world, and global businesses are jeopardizing its very survival.
At Sacha, we believe in changing the way business is conducted and the impact businesses can have on our planet.
Looking to 2019 and Beyond
Sacha Agency’s commitment to preserving the Amazon Rainforest and the Kichwa tribe’s traditional way of living will continue to grow throughout 2019 and beyond.
Working with the Kichwa people, we will continue to discover how to deter them from selling their land to different interest companies. We aim to do this by:
- Discovering how they can generate their own income, without disrupting their traditions or environment.
- Developing projects which will help clean up and protect the delicate ecosystem.
In the future, we aim to extend our commitment throughout Brazil and Colombia. Growing to become the organization that has the largest impact on protecting the Amazon Rainforest.
By working with Sacha Agency you will accelerate your business growth, while supporting the Amazon Rainforest and indigenous tribes. Request a meeting with our team or give us a call – (408) 840-4028 – to discover how we can collaborate.