I recently had the ridiculously good fortune to visit the rain forest of the Amazon basin where Brazil, Colombia and Peru meet in international waters. It was the trip of a lifetime, one that formerly held court at the top of my bucket list--but don't worry, I'm not here to gloat. I just want to give an enthusiastic nudge to any budding preservationists with wanderlust.
The Amazonia rain forest is the largest in the world, filling parts of eight South American countries--including, of course, Guyana. I spent the better part of my time in and around Amacayacu National Park on the Colombian side of Tres Fronteras, canoeing through trees over what will again be a dirt path once the rainy season ends. The flooding cycle is an essential part of forest regeneration, distributing seeds, fish and insect eggs to support life in the jungle. It's part of a perfectly harmonious ecosystem that is interdependent and self-sufficient, with layers of plant life providing for and protecting against nature's elements. Delicate vegetation shaded from the sun stays close to the ground while giant trees with waxy leaves guard the canopy below from downpours. The animals and insects that call the rainforest home all rely on the plants around them--and, of course, vice versa.
It's no wonder then that with all of its complexities, the region needs a gentle hand and limited influence from curious humans like myself. There's evidence of respect for retaining nature's purity. In nearby village Puerto Nariño, there's a yard with a whimsical garden adorned with used bottles and scrap metal. Recycling stations are set up nearly anywhere one might find garbage cans. Potential damage extends far beyond local waste, however, as deforestation and climate change threaten to topple the balance.
Rainforest Foundation is asking you to suggest breakthrough ways to keep nature as it is intended. The Amazon is calling...