As a child, my grandfather took me to visit the Térraba-Sierpe National Wetland, one of the most important ecosystems in Costa Rica. I still remember the fauna of this magical place. However, as I grew older I saw how this landscape degraded and how the lives of those who depended on it became increasingly difficult. This experience motivated me to work for the conservation of the environment and years later to look for a community that needed support to conserve the environment that surrounds them.
This is what motivated our youth NGO Diwo Ambiental to launch the ‘Bosque para Nacer Agua’ (Spanish for ‘Forest for Water Provision’) project, which will receive support from the Global Landscapes Forum this year to expand its impact. Since 2018, the initiative works to restore montane forests in the Boruca Indigenous Territory. The objective is to improve forest health and reinstate ecosystem services such as water provision, while generating direct income sources for locals.
The community actively participates in ecological restoration efforts, and the artisan women association So Cagru also offers cultural tours to volunteers –people who choose to spend some time in Boruca helping to build greenhouses, plant trees and monitor their growth. Little by little, such involvement is raising the social and environmental awareness of both local people and external volunteers.
“I felt like I had a solemn obligation to do what I could.”Rachel Louise Carson
Climate change is causing the water supply of communities to be affected, degraded ecosystems cannot cope with these effects. Inequality increases mainly in rural and indigenous communities. For Diwo, restoration is ecological and social, which is why we seek to generate links between the community, ecological restoration, regenerative tourism and cultural wealth, which allows communities to restore their ecosystems, while benefiting economically.
The next decade will determine the future of planetary health, notably on the climate and biodiversity fronts. My generation has grown up in an era of crises such as global heating, and we are determined to lead the path towards a better future. We must innovate, forge alliances, generate evidence and support young people and minority groups in order to transform an economic model that has proven to be unsustainable. And above all, we must be the generation that embraces ecological restoration worldwide. We are still on time. Together, we can restore our planet for the sake of all life on Earth.