Listen to Mother Earth


Life has always held uncertainty at its core, but daily life as we know it has now come to a standstill. Humanity all over the world is facing an invisible but very real threat: SARS-COV-2, otherwise known as COVID-19. Businesses closed, public spaces empty, and only essential workers in fields like healthcare and supply chain remain active out of necessity. Aside from them, only those who are ill-informed and have a false sense of invincibility still roam the streets. This pandemic, the likes of which we have never seen before, is a serious matter. Mother Earth is very clearly telling humanity to sit still and take a breather.

amazon-wildlife-tours

Necessary changes like physical distancing will likely feel extreme at first, jarring you from the comforts of routine and a sense of normalcy. Sequestered at home, you may become physically, mentally, and spiritually restless. It is natural to feel anxious about the wellbeing of your family, friends, community, and the rest of the world. Reach out to them, share memories of happy times, and be sure you make plans for the future together. Read travel blogs and research stunning locations around the globe because dreaming up your ideal luxury vacation is one way that you create positive intentions that will uplift you. Determine if you are in a position to help others in some way, shape, or form in the here and now as well because serving others always inspires a sense of purpose and goodwill. Remember that civilization itself begins and ends with our willingness to help others through difficult times!

Boat ride- NWC

As with all difficulties in life, it always helps to look for positives within the problem. If there is one upside to this pandemic, it is clearly the fact that the world-wide rates of pollution are the lowest they have been in many years! In light of recent events, responsible people are staying at home for the foreseeable future, and therefore emissions are much lower. It is definitely time to come up with solutions for the imminent climate crisis we are also facing. It is a looming threat that we cannot continue to collectively “sweep under the rug” to deal with another day.

Comunidad Kichwa Añangu

Aside from indulging in the typical and fun distractors that can occupy your mind for a while, like consuming the many different forms of media at your fingertips such as tv and movies, don’t forget to take this time to reflect on the current state of affairs with a critical eye. What are your priorities, the things you think are the most important aspects of a life well-lived? Perhaps this pause is necessary for humanity to take stock of its priorities and look long and hard at itself in the mirror. Since the status quo has been derailed, there is no better time than the present to reflect on the suitability of your current path and make plans for an even brighter future.

Añangu Kichwa Community

For indigenous groups like the Kichwa Añangu, this self-reflection can be relatively short and sweet. This community in the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest has been committed to conservation efforts and eco-tourism for more than 20 years. In the local language, “Sumak Huasi” and “Sumak Kausay” represent the core belief that people must live in harmony with nature in order to thrive. That ancient knowledge is exactly what much of the world has forgotten. It is also what will restore our ailing Mother Earth and her plethora of children who call this planet home.

Comunidad Kichwa Añangu

Of particular importance are the elderly knowledge keepers who teach the cultural beliefs and traditional practices to younger generations and the adventurous travellers who come seeking both a luxury travel experience and an authentic connection with the Amazon Rainforest. That is arguably the most profound loss the world is experiencing throughout this pandemic. The loss of our elders, and the wealth of experience they have gathered over so many years, is priceless and irreplaceable. In these troubled times, figuratively hold your near and dear loved ones close to your heart while keeping a safe physical distance from them to avoid any possibility of compromising their safety.

Napo Cultural Center

Though it will cause tremendous hardship, temporarily closing Yasuní National Park to protect the entirecommunity of 200+ people as well as uncontacted communities well within the embrace of the forest is necessary to ensure the wellbeing of everyone, both locals and tourists. Safety is always priority number one. Forced to seal itself off from the outside world, for now, the Añangu await the day when it’s safe to welcome the outside world once more. In the meantime, the power of technology means that you can pay a virtual visit to this lush Ecuadorian destination and many other gems around the world.

Napo Wildlife Center

The cities, our jobs, tourist sites, luxurious travel destinations, and the great outdoors will all be waiting for us once it’s safe to return to the “new normal”. But maybe we will be able to do so with a better understanding of what is truly valuable about the world we live in, and we will return to a more natural state of prioritizing the health of our planet. During this time of reflection and global unity against a common enemy, will you listen to the Earth’s plea for change? How will you choose to realign yourself?

Miguel Andy is General Manager of Napo Wildlife Center. Napo Wildlife Center is an eco-lodge offering unforgettable experiences in the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador, inside Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, which is managed by the Añangu kichwa aboriginal community.

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Comments (17)

  1. Lorraine Berry says:

    What a lovely piece to read! Very balanced, calm and sensible. There’s far too much fake news and hysterical journalism about at the moment.

    • Cassie says:

      Yes, I had the same feelings while reading this too. There are always many different ways of looking at everything, like in this case with the virus. Taking a positive approach is obviously much healthier. That’s a crucial point through all of this.

    • Miguel Andy says:

      Hello Lorraine and Cassie, thank you very much for your comments. We are actually struggling complicated times as human beings, however, it is a time we can use to learn, to rethink what we are doing with our lives and to help others to have a good life too. After the rebooting, the world may change, but we will be prepared and successful in developing a better place to live.

  2. John says:

    It’s been better for me in these past few weeks not to worry too much and put a little more faith in those closest to me. It’s easy to say “we’re all in this together” when in reality, you kind of find out the truth among people you can count on and those you cant. As for me, changing up what I didn’t have time to do before this all happened — I’ve been a lot better at realizing that living simply leads to better thoughts. And I’ve been able to be more comfortable with that by not rushing around and being more appreciative of what I have in my daily life, as opposed to hustling for something untenable. It takes time, but finding a little peace of mind goes a long way.

    • Miguel Andy says:

      Hello John, I agree with you, sometimes modern life and its speediness doesn’t leave time to stop and self inquire about where are we heading. Been forced to stay at home and not having to spend time in moving around or things like that, definitely gives us some time for us. There, is just amazing how we can realize about simple things that would make us to have a happier and healthier life.

    • John says:

      Sure, that’s been a positive at least for me. I guess I’m luckier than most but I know that there are good days and bad days — and when I stick to this new philosophy or perspective of feeling grateful for the opportunity to slow down and see what matters most, I know I can be a little stronger about this whole thing. And that in itself is helpful to others, I have discovered. Thanks!

  3. Roger says:

    I am not entirely comfortable with the personification of Mother Earth as the wise maternal figure acting wisely to preserve our heritage. On the other hand, I agree with the sentiment, certainly we’ve pushed natural resources too far, crowded far too many people in to tight spaces, not taken care of our hygiene. Many systems seem to have in-built systems and checks.

    • Miguel Andy says:

      Hello Roger, thank you for your comment. We understand your position and respect it, now earth has been seen by indigenous as a provider, for millenniums, like a mother who provides to it’s children. Therefore, food, water, sun itself are not seen as resources but as gifts. On the other hand, we agree with you that modern life has pushed us to what is known as extractivism, so land being forced to produce a lot more on monoculture systems or expanding the agricultural frontier, or just petroleum companies destroying rainforest. We should review those systems now and rethink them.

  4. Judy Small says:

    We all ought to be saying Sumak Huasi and Sumak Kausay as our mantras for the day when we wake up to remind Us of our responsibilities to our environment.

    • Miguel Andy says:

      Hello Judy, it is actually a very interesting proposal, Sumak Kausay is a whole way of living. Indigenous people around Latin America keep this ideal as a daily goal and have traditions and an entire culture related to this paradigm. It is what leads to them to protect the nature around them and to where they believe the belong, as part of it.

  5. Jen Scott says:

    I live with chronic illness so staying home and not being able to do regular leisure activities isn’t such a big difference for me. I have little patience for those moaning about being bored and how they can’t go to the clubs or the pub or the cinema, when this is all happening for a reason. It’s to prevent more from becoming very sick, to try to limit those that are sadly losing their lives. The more self indulgent things just have to wait. But I do empathise with isolation and loneliness, and my heart aches for those struggling at the moment or with little support. Our government, like many, has been too slow to respond to the crisis.

    I also think it’s a time for learning the lessons many of us have already had to. Like finding joy in small things, looking for positives, finding another perspective. It’s a good time for a life audit, as you say with this ‘pause’ being a time to take stock of things. We’re thrown into a different way of life for a while and it’s time to readjust, adapt and reflect.

    And you make an excellent point with the bittersweet silver lining of how this is actually helping mother earth. It will be interesting to see what the end result is in a few months’ time as to how much pollution rates have reduced in this period. I do think that once this current crisis is over there will be an indelible mark on society but we should, hopefully, be able to have a more honed focus on what’s truly valuable. Really good post Miguel, it’s nice to see a little hope and positivity at this time.

    • Miguel Andy says:

      Hello Jen, thank you very much for your comment. As you mention, it is important to take advantage of this time and find what is truly valuable in life. Doing so, we may find ways to help our planet instead of just consuming and waste.

    • Johnny says:

      I can’t say I have too much patience for the “I’m bored” comments either!

      Firstly, there are always people out there who are in a far less privileged position than ourselves. There are many thousands of people who have lost their lives, and many more who have lost loved ones, as a result of this crisis, so being bored should really be the least of your worries.

      Secondly, if you are bored, do something about it! We live in a world nowadays where there are so many things competing for our attention. No longer do we have just a handful of radio stations and TV channels to choose from, but instead there’s a plethora of content at our fingertips, whether that be in the form of blogs or books, movies or magazines… not to mention 101 jobs to do around the house!

      I am using the time to meticulously plan future trips. Everyone needs to understand this is not the new norm forever. It is just a temporary ‘reset’ and some kind of normal service will resume before too long.

      Stay safe everyone!

  6. Dwight Frazier says:

    I appreciate the great insight about having Mother Earth as someone or something that is playing a role in these times of crisis but I believe that it is more than that. We all have our own beliefs and theories considering that we all came from diffent cultures and I respect your beliefs. Yes, it may be possible that our world is teaching us a lesson, making us realize all the horrible things that we have done in our own home. I also heard some theories that climate change is a warning for something greater that would really make us take a step back and reflect on all the things that we did that caused destruction of our world. It is also a great insight that we should listen to the only planet we have because we all see the BIG difference this world-wide lockdown caused: clear skies, less air pollution, and animals going back to their natural habitats — a blessing and a lesson at the same time.

    • Miguel Andy says:

      Thank Dwight for your comment, totally agree with you, this period of time could be a lesson to improve in many ways and to allow our planet to be pure and safer to all of us living here.

  7. Pete Parsons says:

    It’s a delight to read such matter-of-fact and hopeful piece of writing. It is true that I found myself being reflective about a lot of things and being anxious all the time as well with all that is happening. I can’t also help but feel listless and aimless because the uncertainty of the future is still very real. Four walls and a patch of frontyard just isn’t enough to calm me anymore. I think it just goes to show how much we’ve taken for granted everything in our lives. Or how much we’ve forgotten to really breathe in LIFE and take things slow. Take time to appreciate our world and not just hurry past it. Perhaps it’s just Mother Earth’s way of reminding us, how worldly we’ve become. But there is always hope as long as we are alive. We will all be able to travel again and we should all look forward to that.

  8. Ivan Bell says:

    It is an extremely unsettling time but I’m confident that things will largely be back to normal 6 months from now. Let’s hope so, at least, for the sake of communities throughout Latin America (and the world).

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