My Master’s Dissertation Research with Green Planet Ventures
I am Rosie, I joined Green Planet Ventures’ sustainable development project in the Amazon for six weeks from June- July 2018. The project is hosted by their partner ICMBio based in Acre (the western most part of the Brazilian Amazon).I did my undergrad in Geography at Sussex University and worked for a few years before I enrolled in the Environmental Governance Master’s at Oxford University.The objective of my trip was to conduct the research for my master’s dissertation, looking at sustainable development practices in the Amazon, to better understand sustainable production of local commodities. I went out with the aim of conducting 15 interviews and I in the end managed to conduct over 30.
Green Planet Ventures was hugely responsive both before and during my trip and were excellent at helping with the coordination of everything. Tiago, Nenquinhia, Nesinho and all the people from ICMBio were incredibly helpful; as it was the stay in the guest house in Cazumba.
I spent 4 weeks in Cazumbá and the rest I spent a few days in Acre visiting the University and the Library as well as attending a Workshop on Environmental Governance with ICMBio that took place in Puerto Maldonado- Peru, on the management of several protected areas that have borders with each other in the limits of Perú, Bolivia and Brazil.
Loraiza helped personally during the first 2 weeks by helping conduct and translate the first interviews and facilitated my understanding during the workshop in Puerto Maldonado- Peru . Wemerson was brilliant helping me to conduct the other interviews and the volunteers that arrived later helped me with the transcription of the interviews.
During my 4 weeks in Cazumba, I was able to witness the local production of Acai berry, the rubber tapping process (extraction of robber from the trees) as well as the creation of artisanal rubber products in the community and the production of farinha. I spent time with the community getting to know their way of living, shared their food, played football and interacted with them. Everyone was so helpful. I always felt welcomed and that people were looking out for me. It was inspiring to see how people describe the forest as a source of life. The deep awareness of importance of sustaining the forest to ensure continued livelihoods and also clean air and water for the benefit of the rest of the world too.
It was humbling to see the rich descriptions of the rubber tree as a mother providing which has provided for past and can provide for future generations.
I am so happy that I chose this project. It was absolutely brilliant. It was an experience of a lifetime. I got all the information I needed for my dissertation but I also feel I learned so much more in terms of environmental management and how it all works. My master’s course was very theoretical but this trip put it all into context for me.
Alongside my dissertation work, it was also extremely valuable all the official meetings I participated in including:
- Protected Areas Governance and conflict management workshop in Puerto Maldonado.
- Community participation workshop with all the community of Cazumba- Iracema Reserve, led by IUCN and the Climate Change Institute of the Brazilian Government to develop an index for socio-biodiversity.
- Sustainable agriculture meeting to discuss a disease affecting local bananas. For this events experts and government officials came to Cazumba to understand and discuss the phenomenon.
- Cazumba- Iracema community association meeting to sign and agree the construction of the Artesano rubber workshop.
The highlight of my trip in Cazumba has to be the community, it is a very special place and they are so welcoming. Nesinho is an incredible leader and Noi made me feel part of the family. The journey up the river was a crazy brilliant adventure!!
I want to say thank you to all those that helped me:
Thank you to Teresa in Acre for using her connections to put me in touch with useful contacts at the University of Acre.
Thank you to Nenquinhia for excellent taking care of us in Sena Madureira and on the journey to Peru.
Thank you to Lila for sharing her knowledge and experience on the essential oils extractions and cooperative.
Thank you Nesinho for sharing your incredible inspiring story and for being so open.
Thank you Tiago for being so great and always knowing what was going on.
Thank you Wemerson for being a star and helping out with the interviews.
Thank you Noi and family for looking after me in Cazumba and welcoming me into her house and for the excellent food “comida esta boa!”.
Thank you to the researchers (Luan and Allana) and to all the volunteers for allowing me to join on the biodiversity monitoring, production process following, interview transcriptions, help with language and swimming, football and face painting!
Thank you to Green Planet Ventures for the coordination and especially Loraiza for being very responsive and answering my questions and helping with the communications there.
Thank you to the whole community of Cazumba for being such amazing people and making me feel part of the community.
I am so happy I chose this project. It was absolutely brilliant. It was an experience of a lifetime.