Our challenge is to save the planet and improve the lives of its inhabitants.
Traditionally, modern approaches to development have sacrificed basic needs such as drinkable water, clean air and a nutritious food supply in the name of economic growth. Sustainable development refers to an improved overall quality of life: enhanced income, food security, heath, clean air and water as well as the protection of natural resources. EcoLogic strives to promote sustainable development and biodiversity protection in the ecological corridor that connects the Mayan forests of southern Mexico to the lowland forests of Panama, as well as other "hotspots" in Latin America where ecosystems are at risk.
Coral reefs teeming with colorful tropical fish, swamped mangroves, lush rainforests, pine forests, grasslands and majestic high mountain woodlands are some examples of the ecosystems in Mesoamerica (Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama). In 2.5 acres of tropical forest there thrives a greater variety of life forms than in the United States and Canada combined. These wild lands provide the habitat for Mesoamerica's diverse wildlife: birds, reptiles, monkeys, jaguars, fish and countless other species which may not survive if current conditions persist. Although Mesoamerica contains only .5% of the world's land surface, it is home to 7% of the planet's biological diversity.
Resources at Risk
Appallingly, since 1950, Mesoamerica has lost almost 70% of its original forest cover. The effects of poverty contribute to environmental degradation: rural peoples cut down trees to sell as firewood; migrants live as squatters on protected land; "slash and burn" agriculture is practiced because of the ever growing demand for arable land; endangered animals are captured and sold. Corporate interests have also led to the destruction of biodiversity: logging precious, old growth forests for profit; clear-cutting trees to plant crops for export; and deforesting expanses of forest to create space for livestock. These factors have led us to a perilous situation: 42 million acres of forest disappear from the earth each year, and six thousand animal species become extinct. EcoLogic's programs pose alternatives to environmental destruction by promoting local, community determination in the control of their natural resources.
Poverty and the Environment
EcoLogic's programs also strive to lessen widespread poverty in the region. Throughout Latin America, indigenous peoples inhabit areas rich in biodiversity such as forests, costal zones, and high mountain regions. Most often, these populations lack access to basic necessities such as adequate nutrition, potable water, housing, sanitation, educational and health facilities. Currently, almost half of Central America's population lives in poverty. Consequently, this population's dire need for resources compels it to over-exploit their natural environment for survival. EcoLogic, together with our partner organizations, strives to present these rural, underserved communities with sustainable economic opportunities that improve their quality of life and reduce pressures on the environment.