Bogota. April 25, 2022. In order for Colombia to recognize itself as an Amazon country and act to protect one of its greatest natural treasures, the 'Listen to the Amazon' Alliance presents the first Amazon Night, a space to connect with water, the life and wisdom of this important ecosystem. The event will take place next Thursday, April 28 in Bogotá and will be a meeting place with the Amazon and its diversity, through cultural exhibitions.
The Amazon Night is intended as an open space for all citizens and an urgent call for presidential candidates to commit to the conservation of the Amazon. As the 10 organizations that make up the Alliance warn, despite the fact that 44.3% of Colombian territory is Amazonian and that this region is home to immense biological and cultural wealth, the Amazon rainforest is seriously threatened.
“The Amazon is the last great tropical forest in the world, home to half of the indigenous peoples that exist in the country, and a source of water for other regions of Colombia and Latin America. It is a vital region that, thanks to all the interactions that arise in it, sustains our life as we know it today. Conserving it and guaranteeing its biological and cultural diversity is a task that does not wait, the next government must prioritize its conservation, ”says Silvia Gómez, executive director of Gaia Amazonas, one of the organizations of the Alianza Escucha la Amazonia.
Today, the Amazon not only concentrates 66% of the country's deforestation, but it is also the focus of activities such as mining, illegal road construction, the expansion of agriculture and livestock that generate a great loss and degradation of the forest, and they threaten the well-being of indigenous and peasant communities, as well as the survival of their thousands of species. Hence the urgency for the next government to prioritize this region and commit to five objectives that have been identified by the Alliance:
Protect the Amazon region against climate change and biodiversity loss.
Ensure the ecological and sociocultural connectivity of the Amazon.
Consolidate and intercultural State for the Amazon
Launch a model of sustainable development from and for Amazon.
Guarantee the protection of the rights of environmental defenders, peasant communities, and indigenous authorities of the Amazon.
Why is the Amazon crucial for Colombians and the rest of the world?
One of the most important contributions of the Amazon in the life of Colombians is water. This biome stores 20% of the existing freshwater. Each of its 400,000 million trees cools the atmosphere and transpires up to 1,000 liters of water a day, forming immense flying rivers, or large aerial flows of water, which produce rain and feed the water cycles of the Andes and other regions of the continent.
Gotica, a character to understand the value of the Amazon
It is estimated that the water consumed by one in four Colombians comes from this region and this is just one of the ways in which the Amazon is present in our lives. Precisely, to make this process visible, during the event Gotica will be officially presented, an animated character who tells how this phenomenon of flying rivers occurs, from its birth in the Amazonian trees and its journey to the Andean moors and cities.
The flying rivers are a unique and extraordinary phenomenon that occurs thanks to each of the trees in the Amazon rainforest and that cause rains more than 3,000 kilometers away. On their way, they feed not only the Andes but also various regions in Brazil, Uruguay, or Argentina. Therefore, they are essential for the water cycle in South America. Without it, the region would be practically a desert.
About the Alianza Escucha la Amazonia: It is an initiative that seeks to mobilize civil society and political actors to support the protection of the Amazon, in which the Gaia Amazonas Foundation, the Organization of the Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon (OPIAC ), the Foundation for Conservation and Sustainable Development (FCDS), the Interreligious Initiative for Tropical Forests (IRI-Colombia), WWF Colombia, the Etnollano Foundation, Environment and Society, The Nature Conservancy, Dejusticia, and Greenpeace Colombia.
Gestión de medios y relaciones públicas de ‘Escucha la Amazonía’
Andrea Maussa Acuña
Líder de contenidos - Fundación Gaia Amazonas