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More than technical expertise or diplomas!  The primary characteristic of an Earthlife Steward is a passionate commitment to restoring life to the degraded and depleted lands of our planet. (‘Life’ in this context denotes richly biodiverse, resilient and naturally regenerative ecosystems).

What I have observed is that passionate commitment is the essential factor for the ongoing survival of projects that set out on the mission to put planet before profit. In the prevailing current economic system, the odds are stacked against anyone embarking on this path, and there are many challenges along the way.

The second characteristic is acting in alignment with nature and its processes. The Earthlife Steward expresses their natural role in the ecosystem they are part of. This is how our ancestors lived, and many indigenous communities still do, although many others have been taught to behave differently, and to varying degrees this indigenous wisdom has been lost, or lies dormant, or hidden.

Acting in alignment with nature does not have to mean going back to the past, it can include all we have learnt. The application of clean technologies, and using the benefits of enhanced connectivity offered by the internet are two good examples of things that can support us in reversing the devastating impact that humans have had on the earth over the past few hundred years.

Cultivating resilience and openess; addressing challenges with creativity; nourishing the body and mind to maintain good health; are all principles that an Earthlife Steward lives by, and that inform their work.

Often the top down solutions that are implemented by governments or development agencies can end up throwing a lot of money and resources at the problem. Sometimes financial incentives are used in rural communities to get people to change their behaviours, or to implement a project, and there is no local ownership.

Although these interventions may appear to have big impact in the short term, more often than not it is not sustainable. Rapid change and sudden influx of funds cause rifts within and between communities. This leads to a lack of long term social investment as in social capital, and once the trees are planted, or the project is signed off, there is not enough incentive/gain to manage the land well.

We see the value of solutions that are rooted in place, and in allowing knowledge, skills and results to spread naturally (like a mycelial fungus transmitting information to the roots of the trees in a forest), driven by the passion and enthusiasm of pioneer stewards in the area.

There are many such people around the world, planting trees, enriching soils, growing abundance, because they feel it is the most natural, and valuable contribution they can make to the earth and to their communities.

Our intention at Earthlife  is to seek these people out and give them support. It is these people who can then educate and inform others in their area about returning to balance with nature, and so the area of impact can spread in a way that is rooted and has everyone on board.

 

pato forest 2

Earthlife Steward, Juan Patricio Pilco Hipo is dedicated to restoring life and biodiversity to the Andes in Ecuador.

 

a pebble in a pond…..