Media centers protect human rights and rainforest in the Amazon
BERKELEY, Calif., May 22, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Amazon Voice (amazonvoice.org) is giving Tzama, an indigenous Amazon native from the Tawasap Shuar community in Ecuador, a chance to tell his story. Tawasap is at risk. "See?" he says, pointing to trees planted by his great-grandfathers, "they are white these days. Normally, they are covered in fur, plants, greenery. Now nothing grows on them."
Media technologies and professional skills will enable the Shuar to communicate beyond the Amazon about the crisis of deforestation through sharing their stories, language, and art.
Shuar culture, too, is at risk, but they are committed to preserving cultural memory for generations to come. "We need to document. We need the equipment, there is no more time to waste, the time is now," says Tzama. This documentation protects living culture while exposing illegal forest degradation and raising funds.
"The things I could show you if I had a long-distance video camera," says Tzama. Those cameras, along with microphones and Macbooks, are on the way. Visionary artists of international acclaim are teaming up to teach villagers how to use the media tools and collaborate on groundbreaking media projects.
Amazon Voice is among few NGOs working directly with the local communities on a foundation of reciprocity and mutual respect, creating a network owned and operated by communities, not corporations. The project is well underway. May 14 marked the launch of their website, their sixth fundraising music album, Spirit of La Selva, and a Kickstarter campaign raising funds for a Shuar documentary.
"We want to work together with the world," says Tzama. "Everyone benefits from the rainforest. Everyone needs to be working together to care for it. We want to show that we, the Shuar, are here, existing, living. We are not calling on you to help us because we are in need. We are inviting the world to collaborate with us to care for the rainforest, to help themselves."
Culture is ecology. Amazon Voice is an international team of leaders, activists, and artists from within and beyond the Amazon. Together they are generating a new model for social justice and environmental activism that celebrates culture and amplifies voices of wisdom, freedom, and responsible action. A new path is being forged in the struggle to protect the Amazon and its peoples, relying upon beauty, vibrancy, and cultural self-expression.
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