It takes more than a village to care for the earth, it takes a strong village. In other words we need competent, and minimally corrupt, government culture and policies to nurture ourselves and the planet. A study in December, 2017 showed how political instability and weak governance led to loss of species. One person, one organization, or one community cannot do it alone – though it begins there. We begin with one individual putting the dreams of freedom into action, and extend it to family and community, and then to region and perhaps even to a nation. The Virunga National Park, one of the most long standing and stable organizations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has influenced governments and processes and has brought stability to what is often an area beyond the rule of law.
This list of severe issues we face doing parrot conservation in Honduras is compellingly dire:
Global witness called Honduras the most dangerous country for environmentalists
It is in the top three countries with the highest murder rate outside of a war zone
Drug traffickers often work with impunity leading to corruption, gangs, and unprecedented violence in most of the country
People flee the country seeking safety (economic and personal) - more than 200,000 have fled violence
As you can imagine, doing conservation in regions like this is challenging, let alone living, and living well. Likewise throughout Latin America, where One Earth works, the problems can be intense. Having lived in Guatemala during the Civil War in the 1990’s I am vividly aware that the core problems that are hurting the people are also hurting the parrots (to find out more, read my book, “Conservation in Time of War: A Transformational Journey Through Beauty and Tragedy.”)
What are these core problems, the core oppressions at the base of all this tragedy and suffering? Some would say it is patriarchy, others would use words such as power-over, domination (human and white), colonialization, and inequality. These oppressions weave a sticky web that catches each of us in a system where we are both benefited and harmed. We all are trapped and must address these core oppressions for co-liberation. We work together to free not just ourselves from our imprisonment, but all of life, for none are free until all are free. What happens in Honduras is happening to each of us, as we are not separate from life but interdependently relational. If we want freedom for ourselves, we have to work in solidarity with the people and parrots of Latin America to free themselves.
On the streets of Honduras this week people will be risking their lives for freedom. They are fighting to unweave a web of core oppression from our societies so we can reweave justice, freedom, and equality. As people protest (even as they and others also try to keep everyone safe), though they may not know it, they are freeing the parrots and other beings of the world.
I thank them for this.
May they be safe from harm and all beings be safe from harm.