Valentine’s is approaching. The day that fills most of us rational beings with dread as soon as February comes round. But Cool Earth has a Love Story worthy of making even the most stony hearted among us smile – an illegal logger falling in love with the chief’s daughter.
At 21 years-old Huber arrived in Peru’s Ené Valley. He came to work for an illegal logger that was clearing the region’s mahogany. Huber’s job was to float cut trees to the nearest port – 25 miles down river. Hard, dangerous work for a boss that cheated him and the communities where they were working.
Then everything changed. Huber fell in love. He fell in love with the chief’s daughter.
“I fell in love with the woman who is now my wife here and that’s why I stopped working with the loggers, because of my wife, Mikaela.”
Huber quit logging and married Mikaela.
Shortly after, Peru’s National Institute of Natural Resources (INRENA) seized 20,000 cubic feet of mahogany that the loggers were trying to smuggle out. Much like how poached ivory is destroyed, this precious hardwood was left to rot as a message to the loggers.
As for Huber? He now lives with Mikaela and their three children in the forest – Maycol, Maxis and Yeimi. He’s become one of the central figures of Cool Earth’s Asháninka Project, which has not lost a single tree to loggers since it started in 2008.
“The forest is nice now that there is no logging here. Forest is not sold here. Cool Earth is really helping the community so we can conserve the forest.”
So there you have it. How love can save the rainforest.