The 300 Acres Project sprung from the recent Google Earth Outreach/Indigenous Mapping Summit at Google headquarters in Mountain View. I (Natalie Villalobos) participated by helping with logistics, and brainstorming “ice-breakers” and curriculum with the Google Earth Outreach staff. I took this effort on as a volunteer project on top of my full-time position as Community Manager for Google Sidewiki.
I met many amazing indigenous people from all over the world – but one story stuck with me. It was that of Flavio Santi, the Shuar/Quichua healer and leader of the Amazanga people in attendance from the far-reaches of Puyo, Ecuador. He gave a captivating talk with poignant analogies that gently inspired the hearts of everyone that listened to him. I was so taken by his story that it led me to the question – What can I do?
His goal – purchase 300 acres of ancestral land that was taken from the Amazanga people…and do it in 30 days or less. It’s not that he threw out this gauntlet to see if we could achieve it. He and his people only have 30 days to make this happen. Building on the amazing ground work already in place, I decided to put my Web 2.0 skillset to the task.
Update: We were granted an extension! We now have until May 5th to raise the funds, with a $3,000 penalty. Our new goal – $73,000!
So, I hired a dear friend to be the web developer and nudged my talented boyfriend to be the graphic designer, and with some fairy dust and a lot of support I took on the lead as content director for this website. And, here we are – less than a week later from when I heard the touching tale of the indigenous people being encroached on by developers, land investors, and the industrial world-at-large. My plan – tell everyone I can get a hold of that WE CAN SAVE THE RAINFOREST IN 30 DAYS.
When you look at the big picture – we’re actually protecting ancient wisdom and cultures while combating the globalization that leads to the destruction of our precious resources.
Consider yourself a “bioneer” by giving your contribution to the Amazanga people. And for those that are on Facebook playing Farmville – try this one on for size. We’re making Farmville a reality, and we’re making it global!
Words from the Amazanga community of the northern Amazon:
We are all guardians of the earth, not owners of her. It is time to reconnect with nature and return to a consciousness of natural balance with pachamama, mother nature. We are all caretakers, protectors of our forests, our mother earth.
By saving this land we can protect its sacred waterfalls, the water that flows from the ground there, the trees, the eternal forest of the children.
The Amazon jungle is being destroyed, as are many beautiful places around the world. It is time for unity, for us all to come together to protect our mother earth. Let us all unite in our love for the earth and protect her with all our hearts.
We unite with spiritual consciousness, natural consciousness, cultural consciousness.
Sumak causay, sumak allpa; vida, tierra sin mal: life, earth without harm.
With many thanks,
The Amazanga community of the Quichua nation, Puyo, Ecuador