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Where Traditional Knowledge is Invaluable

Although the topic has been the subject of great debate over previous years, climate change and global warming have lately become much more accepted in the scientific world as a startling actuality. In fact, much of the scientific has come to forecast severe warming and possible global disaster by 2060. It’s quite a scary thought that we could be just at the cusp of a worldwide, ecological cataclysm.

But, much of the scientific community is also in agreement that there is still plenty of hope, if we get going now. So where exactly is the biggest impact-zone – where would organized efforts begin? What can be done? As it turns out, the exact location that is home to much of the planet’s most marred face is one of the best hopes of any possible, regenerative, cataclysm-stopping hopes out there: South America.

South American rainforests have long been a set of planetary organs, if you will, for Planet Earth. The rainforests – home to countless plants and animals, also acts as the planet’s lungs, maintaining CO2-oxygen balances. They have also served as a thermostat, maintaining worldwide temperature and ecosystem balance. In addition, the rainforests have also served as pollutant-reducers, filtering the rest of the world’s air.

But thanks largely to deforestation alone, the precious rainforests have dwindled startlingly. This is “ground-zero” for those fighting to turn the tide of impending planetary doom. This is the epicenter of the future’s hope.

Here, among tree stumps and barren fields where once mighty rainforests stood, modern efforts are hard at work reforesting. The Nature Conservancy’s Atlantic Forest Restoration Pact, the Open World Foundation, and several other groups are here, replanting forests and a future’s hope. But, contrary to what one might think, it’s not actually technological prowess, corporate entities, or modernized teams going around regrowing the lost rainforests; it’s the locals and their knowledge of the land.

The locals and natives of the old rainforest lands are some of the best at understanding an ecology needing rebuilt. These people, their traditional knowledge of the land, environment, soils, water, area life cycles and more, are physically performing the work needing done. This is how rebuilding, regrowth, and rainforest reforestation are taking place here.

The entire operation could be seen as a cooperative. The large organizations leading the efforts from above offer financial incentives based on reforestation progress, and the locals and their traditional knowledge in-turn replant and maintain the regrowth of the lands. In essence, the local, traditional ways are being paid and tasked directly to stand against deforestation and administer the regrowth of their own native land – the rainforests.

In a broader sense, such an arrangement is one to glean an example from. Perhaps other realms of planetary improvement have something to learn here. In South America, it is from the ground-level of tradition and the knowledge of locals that hope is springing back.

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