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Posts Tagged ‘Amazon Conservation Team’

Mark Plotkin Featured in Times-Picayune

September 12, 2014 by
 
 
 

The Times-Picayune of New Orleans just profiled Mark Plotkin of Amazon Conservation Team. The piece talks about how “growing up, Plotkin never imagined he would one day become an ethnobotanist, studying the ways Indians used the plants that grew around them. ‘How could I?’ I never knew there was such a thing,’ he said.”

It talks about the defining moment that changed all that, and later led to the founding of the Amazon Conservation Team and all his success. It ends with Mark’s humor.

An excerpt:

“In 1996, he and his wife, Liliana Madrigal, cofounded the nonprofit Amazon Conservation Team to protect biological and cultural diversity in the tropical rain forest, and started the program Shamans and Apprentices, which helps medicine men share their priceless knowledge with young members of their tribes. Nearly two decades later, the program is flourishing.

‘It’s not just working, it’s thriving,’ he said. ‘I’m immensely proud of that.’ Plotkin has led a remarkable life. He has degrees from Harvard and Yale, and a doctorate in biological conservation from Tufts University. In 1998, he starred in the IMAX film ‘Amazon.’ He has won numerous awards, and in 2005, for Smithsonian magazine’s 35th anniversary issue, he was picked as one of ’35 Who Made a Difference,’ along with such luminaries as Bill Gates and Wynton Marsalis…

In recent years, the Amazon Conservation Team has put together a partnership between Google Earth and 33 tribes, mapping their land — 70 million acres of tropical rain forest — in an effort to establish their ownership rights and protect the land from loggers.”

Read the rest: http://www.nola.com/homegarden/index.ssf/2014/09/ethnobotanist_mark_plotkin_a_n.html

 

 

2013 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting Tomorrow; Mark Plotkin Kicks Off Special Series

September 23, 2013 by
 
 

Much of the Skoll Foundation staff is in New York City for the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, with lots of events surrounding it.

Online, our Skoll World Forum Online just kicked off a special CGI 2013 series, with Skoll Awardee Mark Plotkin of Amazon Conservation Team writing a piece called “Saving the Last of the Cannibals in the Sistine Chapel of the Amazon Rainforest.”

An excerpt:

“Colombia takes the lead in protecting rainforests and isolated tribes while fighting climate change

The most fragile of Amazonian cultures are the isolated indigenous groups, those few ‘lost tribes’ that have chosen to avoid contact with the outside world. The recent historic record amply demonstrates that contact can devastate these hunter-gatherer bands: within a few years of making contact, 50% of the Nukak tribe of the northwest Amazon and 80% of the Akuriyo tribe of the northeast Amazon had perished. And these fatalities were not equally distributed among all age groups: the most vulnerable were the very young and very old. When the elderly members of a small tribe die, because they typically are the repositories of tribal knowledge, much of the culture disappears with them.

Sooner or later, contact for still-isolated groups is all but inevitable. And recent history very likely predicts their future: they will be ‘civilized’ through settlement in large sedentary villages of other tribes. Once there, their changes in diet, lack of agricultural knowledge, and exposure to disease will prove disorienting and disheartening. Through the deaths of the elders and intermarriage into the dominant tribe, their culture will begin to rapidly disintegrate.

The Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) has chosen to help prevent this destructive process in a constructive way.”

Read more: http://skollworldforum.org/2013/09/23/saving-the-last-of-the-cannibals-in-the-sistine-chapel-of-the-amazon-rainforest/

 

 

Colombia’s New Rainforest Park is a “Win-Win,” Amazon Conservation Team says

August 26, 2013 by
 
 

Big news from Skoll Awardee Amazon Conservation Team and mongabay.com:

“The Colombian government will officially double the size of its largest national park, reports El Espectador.

Chiribiquete National Park in southern Colombia will expand from 12,990 square kilometers to 27,808 square kilometers, making it one of the biggest protected areas in the Amazon. The expansion will include areas thought to be inhabited by two ‘uncontacted’ or voluntarily isolated tribes. These areas were potentially at risk from oil exploration and mining.

Liliana Madrigal of the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT), a group that works with indigenous groups in Colombia to preserve the country’s forests, told mongabay.com in that the move is a ‘win-win’ for Colombia’s stunning cultural and biological diversity.”

Read more: http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0816-chiribiquete-colombia.html?twitter=bulk#XLT4fUL4DRfpX7ec.99

 

ACT Helps Purchase—and Protect—383 Acres of Sacred Land in Colombia

May 20, 2013 by
 
 

Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) is proud to share with us a photo of their special celebration earlier this month in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region of northern Colombia, adjoining the Caribbean.

Liliana Madrigal, co-founder of ACT, shared: “A purchase of 383 acres of coastal land considered sacred by the Kogi indigenous people was made possible through a partnership between ACT, the Colombian Ministry of Culture, and the Gonawindúa Tayrona indigenous association of the Kogi.  Such investment is a first for the Colombian government, which also established a new Colombian category of protected area for the land, a site of ‘national and cultural interest.’   On May 5, various government ministers, local leaders and around 50 Kogi spiritual leaders gathered for the official transfer of land to the Kogi, who now will work to incorporate it to their indigenous reserve. This accomplishment is highly significant not only for the Kogi, but for all indigenous groups seeking greater public awareness of the crucial importance of sacred lands to the perpetuation of their culture.”  

More from ACT:

Traditional sacred sites of the Kogi people are managed by the mamos, or spiritual authorities, who make offerings on these sites according to traditional calendars. However, not all sacred sites of the Kogi are in their reserve: some lie outside of it and are seriously threatened by development, extraction, and commercial industry pressures. In the process of recovering these sites in order to develop their ancestral practices in line with their traditional cosmology, the Kogi, in an interesting public-private partnership supported by the Colombian Ministry of Culture, the Colombian national rural development agency INCODER, and the Amazon Conservation Team, bought the property Jaba Tañiwashkaka located at the mouth of the Jerez River in the municipality of Dibulla, department of La Guajira.

By decision of the Ministry of Culture #2873 of November 13, 2012, the site was declared a site of national cultural interest, a new category of protected area in Colombia that protects the land where the sacred site Jaba Tañiwashkaka is located. On May 5, the transfer of this land will be formalized in a traditional ceremony, with the participation of mamos, local communities, and institutions involved in the acquisition process.

 

Washington Post Highlights Part of Amazon Corridors Project

March 29, 2013 by
 
 

The Washington Post just did an article about the Surui, the first indigenous tribe in the Amazon and globally to earn carbon credits under internationally recognized standards for capturing carbon in trees. Forest Trends and the Amazon Conservation Team were quoted as experts. Here’s an excerpt:

“As a small boy in the early ’80s, Almir Surui hunted monkeys with a bow and arrow, wore a loincloth and struggled with Brazil’s official language, Portuguese.

At 38, he is the tech-savvy, ­university-educated chief of the Paiter Surui, or “the real people,” of this western corner of Brazil.

He can still handle a bow. But Chief Almir Narayamoga Surui says his weapon of choice is technology: Android phones to monitor illegal logging, hand-held Global Positioning System devices to map territory and Google Earth Outreach to show the world what a well-managed forest looks like.

Wielding the tools of the 21st century, the 1,300-member tribe has delved into a complex scheme in which governments or companies pay for forest preservation, contributing to a system that, if fully realized, would help end large-scale deforestation. By determining how much carbon is prevented from being released if the trees on Surui lands are left standing, the tribe hopes to sell carbon credits internationally to offset greenhouse gas emissions in developed countries.”

Read the rest: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/brazilian-chief-uses-technology-to-help-save-his-tribe-and-curb-deforestation/2013/03/26/097b9338-84e7-11e2-a80b-3edc779b676f_story.html

 

Video: Mark Plotkin Shares His Inspiration in Mapping the Amazon

February 20, 2013 by
 
 

Mark Plotkin of Amazon Conservation Team just wrote an excellent piece for Harvard magazine about Alexander Hamilton Rice, a true Harvard man who traversed and mapped enormous tracts of Amazonian rainforest in the first quarter of the twentieth century. An excerpt:

“Thus perhaps the most consequential moment of his Harvard career was Commencement day in 1915, when the ‘explorer of tropical America, who heard the wild call of nature and revealed her hiding-place’ received an honorary degree and met Titanic survivor Eleanor Elkins Widener, present for the dedication of the library named for her drowned son. Rice and Widener married later that year and soon set out together for South America; her vast fortune expanded the scope and scale of his fieldwork and supercharged his career.”

Read the rest: http://harvardmagazine.com/2013/03/vita-alexander-hamilton-rice

 

“Brazil can eliminate deforestation by 2020″ and other related news

April 30, 2012 by
 
 
 

Lots happening in the world of Brazil and deforestation news:

1) Deforestation Film highlighted in local Para news
Para state news in Brazil highlighted the deforestation film shown at the Skoll World Forum (you can watch it below!), and the participation of the Governor of Para and Mayor of Paragominas.

2)  Brazil can eliminate deforestation by 2020, says governor of giant Amazon state

The governor of Para says Brazil can eliminate deforestation by 2020. He shares his vision of Para eliminating deforestation through its green municipalities program. He notes, “There is widespread support in Pará for curbing deforestation. The zero net deforestation goal for 2020 is not an idea from outside; it’s a demand from society. Most are in favor of reducing deforestation. Some groups want to continue deforesting, but they are the minority.”

The article mentioned the Skoll World Forum, too: “The Green Municipalities Program and the Government of Pará were represented to the international community by Governor Simao Jatene and cited as an example of sustainable development to be replicated around the world during the the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship in Oxford, England.” Read more: http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0405-swf_jatene_interview.html

3) Uncontacted Tribe Found

Aerial surveys of a remote area of rainforest along the Colombia-Brazil border have produced the first photographic evidence of an uncontacted tribe, according to Amazon Conservation Team.

Read more: http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0419-uncontacted_tribes_colombia_photos.html

 

Big Win for The Surui – and the Amazon Rainforest

April 17, 2012 by
 
 
 

A small tribe of indigenous people unknown to the outside world a half-century ago and once on the brink of extinction has harnessed an innovative forest carbon project to shield their territory from illegal logging. Now, the 1300- strong Paiter-Surui is the first indigenous tribe in the Amazon and globally to earn carbon credits under internationally recognized standards for capturing carbon in trees – setting the stage for scores of similar projects that can unleash needed funding for indigenous people who preserve endangered tropical rainforest across the Amazon.

This is part of the Skoll-supported Amazon Corridors initiative. The Skoll Foundation is supporting many of the organizations involved — including Forest Trends, Amazon Conservation Team, Equipe de Conservacao da Amazonia (ECAM), IDESAM, Conservation Strategy Fund, Kaninde and Metareila (the Surui indigenous organization). read more

 

“Jeff Skoll’s only absolute mandate… is for everyone to think big”

March 14, 2012 by
 
 
 

The newest issue of Stanford Magazine profiles Jeff Skoll, and covers everything from his childhood love of reading to his latest blockbuster films. The article also highlights the work of four Skoll Awardees: Manchester-Bidwell Corporation, Afghan Institute of Learning, One Acre Fund and Amazon Conservation Team. An excerpt:

“By the time he entered his teens, Skoll already was thinking globally. ‘I could kind of see a lot of trends in the world were getting scary, that by the time I was older the world would have problems with population and resources and potentially deadly diseases and all kinds of things that kind of scared me. And I thought I’d like to get involved in these issues, make people aware of them, and as a kid I thought I would actually do it by being a writer. So that was my first goal.’” read more

 

Surui, Google and ACT article in Readers Digest

February 15, 2012 by
 
 
 

The March issue of Reader’s Digest features the Surui, Google and Skoll Awardee Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) in a piece called “21st Century Amazons,” which you can read only in the print edition.

The Surui are central actors in the Skoll Foundation’s Amazon Corridors Initiative. Part of the initiative is to support the Surui indigenous organization and their NGO partners to replicate much of what the Surui have accomplished with other indigenous groups in their region. Vasco van Roosmalen, of ACT-Brasil, says in the piece, “The great thing about the Surui is that they try to find their own solutions to the problems they face. If you look at the arc of deforestation in the Amazonian rainforest, the areas that still have forest are indigenous lands. The tribe is absolutely crucial to holding back deforestation.”

See the Reader’s Digest photos: http://www.rd.com/slideshows/images-from-brazils-suri-tribe/ and read more about our Amazon Corridors Initiative: http://www.skollfoundation.org/amazon-conservation-team-and-skoll-foundation-launch-innovative-new-approach-to-amazon-rainforest-conservation/

 

New Forest Code Law Passed, and Other Brazilian Amazon Deforestation News

December 9, 2011 by
 
 
 

It’s been a major week in the world of Amazon deforestation news—the Brazilian Senate passed the new Forest Code Law, and the Brazilian government released preliminary data showing that deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon for the year ended July 2011 fell to the lowest level since annual record-keeping began in 1988. Here’s a great summary:  http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/07/world/americas/brazil-deforestation/index.html

The BBC will air Aliança da Terra on their “Horizons” show today through Sunday. The times can be found on their site: http://www.horizonsbusiness.com/about (Aliança da Terra is a Skoll grantee that encourages farmers and ranchers in the Amazon rainforest to practice sustainable forest management).   read more

 

What’s New in the Amazon

November 30, 2011 by
 
 

Today, the Skoll Foundation is sponsoring a side event on the Surui Forest Carbon Project at the Climate Change Convention in South Africa. The hosts are Instituto de Conservação e Desenvolvimento Sustentável do Amazonas (IDESAM), Amazon Conservation Team (ACT), Kaninde, Forest Trends, Funbio and Metareila. Learn more about the Surui project above.

Surui Forest Carbon Project is the first indigenous Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) project in Brazil. Led by the Surui people, the project aims to curb deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions. Learn more about REDD+ here: http://www.un-redd.org/AboutREDD/tabid/582/Default.aspx

 

Environmental site mentions Skoll Foundation in Amazon report

August 3, 2011 by
 
 
 

Top environmental site MongaBay.com mentioned The Skoll Foundation in its latest update of what is happening in the Amazon. An excerpt

“The debate over the Amazon forest code continued in Brazil’s Senate, but satellite data showed signs that deforestation in the region is slowing after an alarming jump earlier this year. In other happy news, a ‘biocultural conservation corridor’ initiative led by the Amazon Conservation Team moved ahead after winning $1.6 million in support from the Skoll Foundation. The project aims to prevent deforestation across 46 million ha (114 million acres) in the northeastern and southwestern sections of Brazilian Amazon by bolstering indigenous land management.”

Learn more about the latest partership with ACT: http://www.skollfoundation.org/amazon-conservation-team-and-skoll-foundation-launch-innovative-new-approach-to-amazon-rainforest-conservation/

 

Amazon Conservation Team and Skoll Foundation Launch Innovative New Approach to Amazon Rainforest Conservation

July 13, 2011 by
 
 
 

Amazon Conservation Team and Skoll Foundation Launch Innovative New Approach
to Amazon Rainforest Conservation

Biocultural Conservation Corridors in the Northeast and Southwest Amazon
ARLINGTON, VA. – July 12, 2011 – The Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) and the Skoll Foundation today announced the launch of an innovative approach to protecting and managing the Amazon rainforest. The initiative focuses on the creation of “biocultural conservation corridors” that link together indigenous lands, national parks, state forests and private landholdings in two enormous swaths of South American rainforest, one in the northeast Amazon and the other in the southwest.

The project, financed partially by a Skoll investment of $1.6 million, will enable indigenous communities to prevent deforestation across 114 million acres contained in the Karib and Munde-Kwahiba ethno-environmental corridors of Brazil. This conservation model can then be applied to other regions of the Amazon. read more

 

Colombian organic cocoa bean farm “accidentally” sprayed with herbicide: HuffPost

June 16, 2011 by
 
 
 

An organic cacao farm, part Skoll awardee Amazon Conservation Teams‘ program that helps farmers move away from growing coca, was “accidentally” sprayed aerially with the herbicide Roundup by USAID (who also fund the program), according to a new blog in the Huffington Post. An excerpt from the article by Jim Frucherman, Skoll awardee and founder of Benetech:

“One of the top social entrepreneurs working in the Amazon is Liliana Madrigal of Amazon Conservation Team. She and I are part of the Skoll social entrepreneur network, and this year we’ve been discussing how technology can help indigenous communities in the Amazon region, as well as improve relationships between social entrepreneurs and USAID – the gigantic US foreign aid agency. read more

 

Jeff Skoll Honored with 2010 Environmental Media Award

October 17, 2010 by
 
 
 

Last night Jeff Skoll received  an honoree award from the Environmental Media Association in a ceremony at Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, CA. Actor Natalie Portman presented Skoll with his award, naming the work of the Skoll Foundation and, specifically, the support of grantees the Amazon Conservation Team, the American Council on Renewable Energy, and Global Footprint Network. read more

 

ACT President Receives Goodall Global Leadership Award

October 14, 2010 by
 
 
 

Congratulations to Skoll Awardee Dr. Mark J. Plotkin, President of the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT), for being named a recipient of a 2010 Jane Goodall Global Leadership Award by the Jane Goodall Institute. The award honors an individual who shares renowned primatologist and conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall’s values, vision, and commitment to making a positive difference for all living things. read more

 

Amazon Conservation Team Creates Innovative Virtual Tour on Deforestation

December 18, 2009 by
 
 
 

The Amazon Conservation Team, led by 2008 Skoll social entrepreneurs Mark Plotkin and Liliana Madrigal, has teamed with Google Earth and The Jane Goodall Institute to create a very cool virtual tour of communities in Tanzania and Brazil who are impacted by, and working innovatively on, deforestation.  They have presented Speaking for the Forests -  Indigenous Communities & Google Earth – Partnering in Redd in Copenhagen.  Narrated by Jane Goodall, the 6-minute virtual journey provides good insights into the issue of deforestation on both continents.  You have to have Google Earth on your computer to watch this, but it’s worth downloading.  The file is here.

 

More Skoll Reporting from Copenhagen

December 17, 2009 by
 
 

We received the following today from Ana Zacapa, a Skoll Foundation program officer attending the Copenhagen meetings:

Yesterday was non stop. We started the day at a meeting organized by the Climate and Energy Funders Group, where we met climate change funders from the US and Europe, all of whom seemed excited about the role of social entrepreneurship in tackling climate change. We then heard from Jet Li, a famous Chinese movie star, who, after almost losing his daughter in the tsunami, decided to work on encouraging individual philanthropy in China. His energy was contagious!! We then heard from Al Gore, who summarized the key points of his earlier speech at the UN Plenary.  He’s clearly very concerned about the continuing hurdles that are surfacing and is now proposing that the next climate conference (COP16), which is scheduled for Nov 2010, be moved forward to July. It is hoped that it would be at this meeting that a binding treaty could be signed.

We attended a REDD event in the afternoon, featuring many influential speakers, including the President of Guyana, the Prime Minister of Norway, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, Richard Branson, Jane Goodall, and a number of large environmental organizations. There is a lot of optimism that a deal on forests can be reached here, even if an overall agreement is not reached. This bodes well for the work of Skoll social entrepreneurs and partners fighting deforestation in the Amazon, including Gaia Amazonas, the Amazon Conservation Team and Avina. As of earlier today, over $3 billion per year had been committed by developed nations for REDD.

Our last event of the day was a dinner hosted by the UN Foundation featuing Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and U.S. Senator John Kerry. The Secretary General stressed again the urgency of an agreement and said that the parties have to all realize that there need to be compromises. Senator Kerry focused a bit more on the prospects for U.S. climate policy, saying that he thinks that without an agreement in Copenhagen, it will be very hard for the U.S. Senate to pass a climate bill. This was discouraging, given that the belief going into Copenhagen was that, without a U.S. bill, a global agreement would be that much harder.

This morning our meetings were more uplifting. One highlight was a session with Mariano Cenamo, a Brazilian social entreprenuer and executive director of IDESAM, who is already implementing a REDD project in the Amazon, clearly demonstrating how social entrepreneurs don’t wait for bureaucrats, they just do it!

 

Prepping for Copenhagen

December 3, 2009 by
 
 
 

The Skoll Foundation, along with a  number of Skoll social entrepreneurs and partners, will be participating in the Copenhagen meetings on climate change later this month.  Reflecting the high caliber of environmental leaders in the Skoll portfolio, some 10 Skoll social entrepreneurs and/or their organizations will be at Copenhagen: ACORE, Amazon Conservation Team, BioRegional Development Group, Ceres, EcoPeace/Friends of the Earth Middle East, Fundacion Gaia, Global Footprint Network, Health Care Without Harm, IDE-India, and Gillian Caldwell (formerly of Witness), representing 1Sky.

These organizations work across a range of climate issues:  deforestation of the Amazon, water, resource utilization and waste treatment, renewable energies, green building, and sustainable accounting.  Several are involved in the official activities – Ceres, for example, will participate in a UN Environmental Program Finance Initiative session as well as brief the U.S. congressional delegation to the conference.  All are also involved in a range of side events.  A sampling: Global Footprint Network will be on a European Environment Agency policy roundtable, ACORE is sponsoring the U.S. Pavilion at Bright Green, a green tech exposition, and Amazon Conservation Team is involved in a series of deforestation side events, where it will highlight its use of satellite mapping to empower local Amazonian tribes’ land ownership rights.

We’ll have a series of reports on Skoll’s website over the next couple of weeks leading into, and from, Copenhagen.  Next time, we’ll talk about what we plan to do with Skoll partners Alliance for Climate Protection and AVINA, both of which will be active in Copenhagen.

 
 

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