A village celebration in the Peruvian Amazon gave us a powerful reminder of the importance and potency of community.
You’re part of a community.
Possibly one of the fastest-growing and most important communities on Earth. A community out to stop the climate crisis. By reading this, learning and engaging, you’re part of the global movement out to protect the planet and its people. Welcome. How does it feel?
Communities are most likely the very reason that all of us live today.
Coming together and supporting each other is the bedrock of civilization. In fact, anthropologist Margaret Mead said that the first true signs of society can be found in a 15,000-year-old healed broken femur. This person survived breaking the longest bone in the human body thanks to those around them.
Healing, mental or physical, happens when people come together and believe us, people are coming together to heal Earth.
Celebration happens when people come together.
Celebrating is exactly what our Awajún partners in Urakuza, Peruvian Amazon did for two whole days. August 2022 marked the 47th anniversary of the official creation of their community. ‘Official’ meaning legally recognised by the Peruvian state and the rest of the world.
The celebration in Urukuza was ultimately an opportunity for people to relax together and have a good time.
There’s friends to see, produce from neighbourhood cacao growers to taste, locally caught fish burgers (you helped make them happen), music and games. Think quaint summer fair, but in tropical rainforest. Sounds fun, right?
These carefree days are made possible because of community. Because the community of Urukuza are united, they can better defend their homes and culture in rainforest.
In the past, only families lived closely together and were spread out around different parts of the Amazon, never usually with others. Urukuza lies in a region where rampant destruction of nature, carbon stores and cultural destruction takes place.
Community, ironically, was influenced by colonisation and religious missionaries, and later reading and writing schools. Speculatively, threats and organised infrastructure drew people together.
There is power in numbers. Official communities are granted rights recognised by legal bodies around the world. This means the Awajún are more likely to get heard and get worldwide backing to fight for changes they need to survive. And for us to survive too. We’re all interconnected, we are a community.
This unity, in the legal sense, is another layer of protection and defence against personal and environmental exploitation, but we must go beyond. True communities instil strength, help us realise our potential and make our voices heard. Now that is something worth celebrating in the fight to protect our home.