What is happening in the Madidi National Park in Bolivia? And how it is related to the plot of the film?
|Madidi National park, jungle surrounded by mountains|
In Avatar the battle between the indigenous (Navi) against human aliens is described. Humans are determined to extract a rich mineral deposit found beneath a giant tree that is the biological center of Pandora. Just for money and wealth, many indigeneous were killed in order to exploit minerals.
In Bolivia, some construction companies and multinationals which have ties with the current government want to build two mega dams that will affect one of the most biodiverse places on earth. They mention that the aim is to develop the country and have an income by selling the energy to countries like Brazil, But these projects are being developed without even having certainty in the future international market or the technical conditions of the project and without noticing the environmental damage that will be generated as it was detailed in in various forums and independent analyzes.
In its time, Avatar had an enormous impact just by denouncing the conflict between corporate greed opposed to the right of native people. It's funny that a government that is presumed to be anti-imperialist and conservacionist is still the protagonist taking the side of large corporations that are only guided by their extractive greed.
|Bala´s Strait. It is the suggested location of the dam|
Destruction of indigenous communities
San José de Uchupiamonas is the main community within the park. It is of Tacana and Quechua origin. It was founded in 1616 by Franciscan priests. The main town is located in the Tuhuichi river and its members are totally against the project. As in the film, no one has asked them their opinion and the project is now in its final design phase.
The interesting thing is that this community is performing a sustainable exploitation of the region using ecological park shelters for tourism and bird watching. They also have changed in their attitude to nature, as they have reduced hunting activities. They recognize the value of the nature in the area, the wildlife richness and they have become the best guardians of the park.
|Local people extracting bananas by the river.|
The film is without doubt one very important piece of environmental defense. It considers all the main aspects for conservation as virgin forests and indigenous people. It shows a planet that functions as an interconnected collective attacked by evil corporate interests.
The parallel with the Madidi park is awesome, which is considered one of the world's largest biodiversity reserves due to its wide range of heights and ecosystems. We are always hearing about new discoveries of new species in the area, showing the richness of the park that it is not yet fully quantified.
|Red hawler monkeys. You can hear them from long distances in the park.|
iClick here to listen to the sounds of the park. Red hawler monkeys and macaws in the beginning of a rainy day
|Capuchine monkeys. Part of the wildlife of the park.|
|The bule and yellow macaw. It probably inspired the flying animals of the movie|
A curious woodpecker (Celeus flavus peruvianus).
Considering that experienced photographers like Joel, who have been all over the world registering the wonders of nature, are so impressed by the park,shows, indeed, that this is an invaluable treasure. Not for nothing, only 8 countries in the world have greater biodiversity than Madidi.
|The jungle with amazing tall trees|
Some interesting facts:
+1000 Species of birds have been confirmed (11% of existing species in the world)
+1000 Species of butterflies (butterflies are only 1.8% of known bugs)
+32 New species of vertebrates such as mouse climbing sud (cf. Rhipidomys austrinus)
Source identity Madidi, expedition reports to the WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)
|The hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin), a typical bird of Madidi´s park.|
|A female deer in the jungle|
Avatar recognizes the value of traditional religion. In Bolivia, the "mother earth" is called Pachamama. The ancestors' culture considers it as a vital aspect for life. "The land is what feeds us and keep us alive". We have to respect it and acknowledge this. All nature is integrated and harmonious. If we do not respect the order, chaos is unleashed. It is interesting that many Bolivian intellectuals as Huascar Vega Ledo (2010 Year of the avatar Jesus Bolpress.com) attribute that director Cameron based many ideas of the movie using the concepts of Pachamama in the development of his film. That's why anyone who respects the traditions should protect nature.
The Bala and Chapete dams
One of the greatest threats to the Madidi National Park has been the Bala dam project, which has a long history and had a major importance in 1998 and then apparently was abandoned by the catastrophic obvious consequences. Unfortunately, now the danger is latent because the final design is underway and two dams are contemplated. In time and thanks to professionals and organizations that are contributing as universities and NGOs, more technical details are known that demonstrate the impracticality of these projects.
What to do? The film gives us the idea: a tenacious opposition. The more people actively oppose and unite the Navis (meaning the local communities of the park like San José de Uchupiamonas), the better that the nature will be protected. This park is a heritage that is vital for the future of humanity and we must fight to keep it. As in the famous fable of the goose that lays golden eggs, killing the goose will not give more gold and we will not win anything. in fact we will lose everything. These dams should never be constructed.
|A nice and preserved jungle and ecosystem is the best heritage for the future|