Sustainable Business Students from Antioch University Discover "The Real Avatar" in Peru

By Crooked Trails co-founder Tammy Leland

Tambopata Peru AmazonI recently traveled to Peru to lead a group of 10 students from Antioch University’s Business Program on an incredible study tour. This interdisciplinary seminar introduced participants to the challenges and possibilities for creating new models for sustainable economies in Peru. Among the questions we considered were -what practices provide long-term economic empowerment and prosperity to local communities?  And, what structures ensure benefits to the common good, be they local ownership, cultural preservation, or healthy environmental practices?

It was a true pleasure for me to be able to take part in this program. The program’s focus on sustainable business practices in the Amazon and my own personal passion for Amazonian people and places was the perfect combination for re-entering Peru after I had been away for a few years.

Peru Amazon butterflyOne of the highlights of the program was meeting with Antonio Fernandini Guerrero, an Amazon biologist, who I have known for years. We were invited to his home in Puerto Maldonado where we had the pleasure to meet a baby Harpy Eagle, an endangered species and the largest and most powerful raptor found in the Americas, that he had rescued after its nest had been destroyed by logging.

Antonio mesmerized us all with stories of the Amazon and his plans to host Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki in the creation of a new documentary called “The Real Avatar” for his award-winning series, The Nature of Things. In The Real Avatar, David Suzuki journeys to the Peruvian Amazon to see first-hand the forces threatening the way of life of its indigenous peoples, and to explore the magnificent beauty and richness of this now-vanishing land, this “Pandora” on Earth. The film has just been released and you can watch it here.

The Antioch students and I have pledged to support Antonio in the work he is doing in the Peruvian Amazon, and I look forward to sharing more information about that and other updates from the field soon.


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