There Are No Them

September 24th 2019

I was living in the Amazon with the Uchupiamonas for several years. We were developing our ecolodge Chalalan in the heart of the Madidi Jungle. In the process, I became one of them - initiated as an Uchupiamona myself. I became indigenous. The Madidi amazingly contains the richest biomass on earth, that is the number of organisms per sq meter. That type of richness attracts both saviors and preditors and sometimes it is hard to differentiate between the two. Charlie Mann and Roda Maria Ruis, two conservationists became my archenemies - furious that I appeared on the scene and became part of the Uchupiamonas, and led with them a project that attracted global attention.

Other NGO's in the field of saving the world sent threats to my life. I was not popular because I was conducting seminars educating Amazonian tribes about their intellectual properties to help defend them from ethnobotanists (Ethnobotany is the science of following indigenous medicine men aka shamans and robbing them of all their deep knowledge of powerfull plants for 2 dollars a day - never acknowledging the tribe nor paying them royalties).

I was an activist and Indigenous people were trending. Suddenly their voice mattered. At one conference in Mexico City, I realized the absurd, 'this all makes very little sense - if they are indigenous people who are the rest of us? aliens? Aboriginal, Indigenous, Natives; aren't we all just that. We are all Indigenous people! This is our home planet, and we should rise up to this understanding and take responsibility for the Earth. 

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