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On this 22nd day of April, 2022 we officially launched our new project, Origins: Amazonia. It is the culmination of nearly 3 decades of thought and discovery, and will continue indefinitely from this day forward. We have come to this point (please remember that word) due to an infatuation (sometimes meandering ) with Amazonia which started to first day I stepped foot in the Amazon rainforest almost 30 years ago. From that point on, I dreamed and read and watched and read more and ate and listened and dreamed more about everything Amazon, from its initial exploration, to its beauty and biodiversity. From the ever evolving body of knowledge relating to its ancient history and the many indigenous groups who inhabit the various regions of the Amazon to the existential challenges facing these people as they lose their land, their language, their culture, their identity.
What I began to realize, really more over the past ten years, is that we’re currently on a path that reveals absolutely nothing at its end. No 3,000 species of fish, no 80,000 plant species, no animals, no 400 tribes of indigenous people, no rivers, no life. Instead, there is a desert. How did we get to this point, almost to the end of the path? The answer occurred to me out of the blue. Of course, we arrived here because we didn’t listen, we didn’t care and we certainly didn’t act. It’s not as if the information hasn’t been broadcast worldwide. The world’s most-respected rainforest scientists describe a scenario where we’ve deforested 25% of rainforest, they call this a tipping point. It’s a point of no return, it’s when desertification begins and continues to the very end of the path, desert, deserted. But it isn’t the end of just the Amazon, it’s the beginning of the end of our planet, for we are all intrinsically tied to the largest and prolific series of ecosystems on Earth, our climate, our oxygen, our water, our cures for disease, our humanity.
My questions then became, why did nobody listen, no one care, why didn’t anybody act? The response followed in my mind, “maybe they didn’t hear the story” or “maybe they heard just a little bit of the story” or “maybe they heard a number of little stories, but didn’t put them all together to grasp the importance of what’s happening.” I decided to follow that surmise with a little test. What if we make an effort to begin to put together a great encompassing narrative of all that is Amazonia … the land, the rivers, the people, the plants, the animals, the food, the music, all of the culture, the challenges facing the region, those who are responsible for threatening the region, those who steal from it, kill it, rape it, legislate it, develop it into oblivion? What if we can do that with a team of scientist, artists, musicians, chefs, farmers, and others, who all share commitment to telling the narrative, uncovering the magic of life which is newly discovered on a daily basis? Would people act if they only knew, if they could see, taste, smell and hear the story? Would they continue to say “I don’t see how that affects me” or “why should I care, we have such big problems to deal with here”?
So here we are, at the point, somewhere before the point of no return, but substantially beyond the point when we should have begun to act. We invite you over the next several months and years to join us to listen, to taste, to hear and smell the story as we experience it. We invite you to help in creating our future together by dreaming it into existence, by working to correct our collective path.
Thanks for reading and caring,
Note: In order to help plan, organize, fund and administer Origins: Amazonia, we have established a non-profit organization called The BioCultural Institute, which you will see listed as a primary sponsor of O:A. ed
There are a lot of elements to telling the great ongoing narrative of a place as large as the Amazon, so how are we going to do it?
O:A Dinner series is a curated dining experience featuring ingredients sourced directly from Amazonian indigenous communities, as well as fresh local produce, seafood and more. Proceeds benefit indigenous communities. All meals are intrinsically gluten-free. Vegan options are available!