Sunday, July 1, 2012

Day 5: Xapuri and Chico Mendes

A pause for translation
Two things I find challenging about elite education are its apparent opposition to practical knowledge learned by experience and opposition to connection to place. I've seen again and again (and surely have been) that one who waltzes and in and wrongly thinks she knows the answer. Sure insularity breeds blindness and growing up in my somewhat blighted hometown of New Lebanon, NY is enough of a lesson about distrust of outsiders, but its also true that understanding and trust take time. And sometimes the moral of fancy education seems to be that your home is your professional cohort, not any physical place, known over time. Enter the story of Nilson and Duda and Chico Mendes... (click title to read more)
We gathered one morning before even breakfast and sufficiet coffee to hear from the brothers the story of Chico Mendes. Not that we did not know it, etched in legend and Andy Revkin's The Burning Season, but we certainly had never encountered the first-hand narrative. Suffice it to say we were gripped for an hour and half, that Heart of Darkness had proven heart of lightness, that Nilson and Duda and this whole strapped community was walking the accountability walk given lip service at Rio +20, and that narrative, narrative, narrative, alongside science and evidence, motivates caring and we hope, action.
Justice for making the comment that the trip had yet to really challenge my comfort zones...
Visual reminder that while extractive reserves preserve local livelihoods, we are talking very hard and otherworldly work

Nilson at home in the forest
Expert (and hamming it up), Nilson shows us the roost of a blood-sucking bat...

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