Hello Reddit - I am Benki Piyãko, Ashaninka spiritual leader and environmentalist. I work on the preservation and reforestation of the Amazon rainforest and indigenous peoples rights.

Our forest is burning, more than ever before, and I am deeply concerned. I’m here to talk about what we can all do to revert this.

I am talking to you from my home, Yorenka Tasorentsi Institute, in the Brazilian Amazon, where we are combating severe drought and wildfires.

With the support of our partners at Aniwa and The Boa Foundation, we are raising awareness and fundraising for the establishment of a permanent fire station support system in our community.

This year we lost almost 1 million trees in the fire. We are fundraising for the purchase of a truck to transport large quantities of water and the creation of water wells in the forest, so there can be enough water to take care of the reforested areas during droughts.This will help us protect land and fight fires in the future.

Donate: bit.ly/YTfires

Aniwa is a community and digital platform dedicated to amplifying the voices of the world's most respected indigenous leaders and elders, by providing access to courses, gatherings and on site retreats, bringing life-changing teachings and experiences promoting cultural exchange, Earth connection and reciprocity.

Learn more: Aniwa.co

I created Institute Yorenka Tasorentsi with the intention to diffuse environmental practices, training of the youth, repopulating species near extinction and creating sustainability in the management of bio diversity.I have planted 3 million trees and intend to plant 10 million more.

Learn more: Yorenkatasorentsi.org

Ask me anything

PROOF: https://www.reddit.com/media?url=https%3A%2F%2Fpreview.redd.it%2Fgjhqrko55upb1.jpg%3Fwidth%3D640%26crop%3Dsmart%26auto%3Dwebp%26s%3D9d5add0a00005a061a696c7370d2a5306482005e

**EDIT: Thank you, everyone, for your insightful questions. Benki will be stepping away briefly for another meeting, but rest assured, he'll be returning to address more of your inquiries shortly. As you can see on a few of these comments, his responses are exceptionally thorough, and we genuinely appreciate your patience. Stay tuned for more engaging discussions ahead!**

Comments: 46 • Responses: 3  • Date: 

Estrella_Rosa12 karma

Good day Benki, thank you for this incredible opportunity, it is an honor to have you here on Reddit. What are the most impactful ways we can support your mission?

Full disclosure- I am here with Benki Piyãko, Vivien Vilela co-founder of The Boa Foundation and Aniwa, and a team of translators for this AMA. We have been here working on urgent solutions along with the team at Yorenka Tasorentsi Institute. As much as I know of Benki's work, his answers are always informative and we receive more information. For the last several years, I have written about my visits to the institute on r/Ayahuasca you can read more by searching- Benki Piyãko, Ashaninká, Yorenka Tasorentsi

aniwacommunity10 karma

Today our greatest worry is to see the environment being destroyed in such a radical manner that impacts the daily lives of indigenous people in this region. The contamination of the air, the waters, and the forest. The destruction of all species of animals, the drugs in the rivers, that every day in this time of year the rivers are drying more than in the past, every day this is effected due to deforestation. Disease, respiratory diseases that today are reaching a calamity point because of smoke emission, carbon emissions, and fire smoke.

We need to create other ways that will end all of the projects that are destroying this region, which is deforestation for cattle grazing. People are destroying the primary forests to replace it with pasture for cattle grazing. Due to this deforestation for cattle grazing, this fire that is used to clear the fields spreads to kill the forests.

We are going through a very traumatic moment on our land. We have been planting the forest with native seeds, fruits and trees since 1989, starting in our village Apiwtxa. In 2004 we came to Marechal Thaumaturgo to create a project here, because the biggest problem is not our land but the surrounding areas. After all, we are living in this moment because of the fires.

We planted over 3 million trees until today and we lost between one and two million trees that were burned in the forest. For us, this was very strong and very hard. Because there are no roads here it's very hard to put out the fires in the forest. Finding water is difficult because all the rivers and water streams are dry due to droughts. We do not have a way to put out the fires in the forest.

At Yorenka Tasorentsi, we are working on a political mobilization to create alternatives, being an example with our reforestation work, with species of fruits and wood, recovering the degraded areas and also the management with the wild fauna and floa, fish farming and agriculture. So we can have balance and sustainability in the area. We know it is not easy, because of the destruction of the forest. People have not planted trees, they only destroy them and they think the animals or trees in the forest will never end, but we are seeing - it all ends.

So the institute Yorenka Tasorentsi is a place of the diffusion of these practices, creating sustainability with the environment and forest systems. Our worry here at the institute for the areas we have reforested and regenerated, we have seen how unprepared the municipality of Marechal Thaumaturgo is. Due to the lack of tools and resources to respond when a crime of this extent happens in the forest. We don't even have a water truck to put out our fires because they don't know how to even get here. The equipment we have here is very fragile, they are not very efficient.

And so we are fundraising to get more equipment to protect our forest and our plants. We dream of advancing in the agroforestry system more and more. The creation of fish farming more effectively, just like the native species that still inhabit the forest to procreate once again, and create public policy so people can be informed about the serious problems we can face in the future. To create a great sapling nursery to help all the people of the region. Only then will we be able to end these fires.

We want to project this to many communities in the municipality of Marechal Thaumaturgo to amplify the projects I mentioned so that they can also be guardians of the forest and then we will work the products from the forest to put in the market as well because the forest is very diverse with fruits açai, buriti, cupuaçu, and soursop. And to incentive the population to reforest the riverbanks and their own backyards - talking to them about the problems of climate change and bringing the responsibility of this conscientization, so that they may too be guardians of the forest with us.

Only then can we instruct people to minimize these problems.

If you want to support please donate: https://donorbox.org/yorenka-tasorentsi-fire-relief

someonenamedbanana1 karma

Thank you so much for this opportunity to speak with Benki.

How does human illness relate to what is happening with climate change on the earth?

Does healing our body allow us to heal the earth and vice verse ~ does healing the earth heal our illnesses in our body?

aniwacommunity5 karma

The healing of our lives is in our hands because everything that is happening on the earth is part of human destruction. When we talk about healing the healing is in us. First, when we look at our own bodies, we look at the earth. When we love ourselves we also need to love the earth in the same way, because it’s from there that we take our sustenance. The rivers and the waters are like an example before our eyes. Thousands of years ago the earth, the forest, and the waters gave life to all beings. The animals are the example, because the animals eat all the fruits, roots, and water without any contamination, and they are healed from all diseases they acquire, because of these fruits and roots are medicines. Even their own animals are medicines. Like millions of years ago this was given to us. It wasn’t polluted or contaminated. Today we see the fish in the rivers as an example too, because water is one of the most precious things in our lives just like all living beings on earth need water to survive. The fish from the rivers are all medicine when they are native and natural because they are only going to eat fruit, leaves, and soil. Nothing with pollution. We look at our human lives in our system of adaptation to the systems of the earth and what is happening today around the world with climate change. When we look back to 1,000 years ago to where are living today…

Our question as indigenous peoples, as the greatest guardians of the earth, who have given one of the biggest examples, and what we are living now is teaching the world how to survive on earth because the wave of destruction has been coming from 1,000 years until now affecting the Amazon. Contamination of the rivers… The pollution of the waters through the emissions of gas and smoke where the rain goes and takes this toxic smoke and chemicals. This contamination falls on the rivers and contaminates them, the trash that is thrown on every corner of the earth - is like poisons of great contamination but smaller contamination that join together in a large scale. When you look at all the towns on the Amazon’s rivers, the only place we can see that still has life is on indigenous lands. The earth is in the same condition due to the destruction of the forest. Everyone uses wood. Everyone kills this natural wealth of forest that is on top of the earth, by burning it and deforesting it to use for construction.

So billions of trees are cut, and there are very few planting trees on Earth, but everyone is consuming what Earth has. That is why we are seeing the disaster of the forests and droughts advancing more and more every day. As an example, a shirtless man under the sun will get sunburned. So the forest is like the Earth’s shirt, it’s the same as the clothes on our body. That protects our bodies from being burned. So when we cut down the forest everything on the earth starts to dry out and it becomes a desert, where global warming advances every day more and more. We see the earth as one of the greatest producers of all foods.

What do men do? To feed humanity? They take the changes, genetically modifying plants. Throw pesticides everywhere to fortify all the roots and plants and kill all the small animals. All of these toxins and chemicals go into the waters and rivers. All of these toxins contaminate the earth and everything starts dying and then when those animals and fish become food for humans, we have fruit that looks beautiful and big, but it’s filled with pesticides and contaminated. Then we see a native fruit that is small with no chemicals. They think it’s bad because it’s small. They would rather eat a large, beautiful fruit full of pesticides and disease that doesn’t have any medicine. They think the little one that contains medicine, the natural one is ugly. So like this, we see men eating poison in their foods, feeding themselves up with disease. The same thing when we look at the animals, the animals that are raised by men. All full of hormones. All are full of chemicals so that they can grow faster and become bigger so that they can have softer or harder meat. And then we look at this balance of human consumption, or the children or the elders eating, ingesting disease daily in their bodies. Everyone knows the plants are contaminated. Good thing that the human body can ingest those things and work to minimize a lot of them.

Why is cancer killing millions of people today? Every day. Why did the coronavirus arrive, scaring people every day? The same as so many other diseases that are appearing due to this contamination. Then we ask ourselves, “Do we want to change the world?” We need to change our habits of survival. Why do we see very few indigenous people die of cancer? Now they are starting to acquire new diseases, because some are eating fruit from town instead of eating native fruit from the forest, and some indigenous are developing big bellies and becoming fat, which is not natural for the way they are built. They are swollen from the inside by eating foods from the town instead of their native foods. My work as an indigenous leader is to bring this wisdom of the traditional peoples and to put forth to the non-indigenous society as well, the importance of seeing people’s lives healthy.

That’s why the work of the institute Yorenka Tasorentsi is to work on traditional practices in the area of production of fruits, vegetables, and fruits. To create sustainable fish ponds without contamination, even with cattle, pigs, and chickens, it is possible to work in a way so the animals can be healthy for our lives. So that those animals can be organic and healthy and people can eat them without fear. These are the problems that today the humanity of the planet is paying a high price for and can pay a lot more still because today we see disease everywhere. Today we see the perforation to drop petrol inside the oceans and forests, everywhere. Mining of gold and precious stones and removing everything to turn it into commerce to sustain humanity. To transform it into personal wealth and I always say, no one can eat money. But the earth feeds us for free daily. So this situation we are seeing in the world today, going through a process of this global warming advancement that is out of control, because the earth is burning in many places. The rivers are flooding in other places, the winds in many places of the earth are destroying everything, and it’s not going to stop there if men don’t think about what is going to happen in the future. So my thought is to call everybody, youth, teenagers, and wise men and women to dream together with us indigenous peoples to save the planet.

ComplexImportance2621 karma


aniwacommunity0 karma

Greetings. This is the Aniwa Co. team here. Thank you for your question. We can confirm that Benki has graciously answered these questions himself. To facilitate communication, we enlisted translator and transcriber to provide these answers in English. We've shared some behind-the-scenes footage on our non-profit's Instagram page, which you can view here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CxgNzXtOkd3/