Creating an Environmental Brigade in One of the Most Beautiful Places on Earth

by | Jul 1, 2022 | Heartivist Of The Week

Beatriz Carmena was a teenager when she fell madly in love with Nature. Intrigued by everything from erosion and restoration to how Nature maintains its natural order and balance, she decided to study environmental engineering. An internship in Oaxaca, Mexico where she was living with biologists and witnessing the extraordinary beauty of thousands of nesting turtles led her to dedicate her life to protecting Nature. Her current project beautifully honors that commitment as she’s planting seeds of love for the environment in the next generation of children in Oaxaca.

On the coast of Oaxaca, Beatriz works in four, different communities. The first two, Escobilla and Río Seco, are communities adjacent to the Escobilla and Morro Ayuta beaches, the most important beaches in the world for Olive Ridley sea turtle nesting as more than1.5 million sea turtles nest there every year. In Cozoaltepec, a group within the community protects a jungle where one might find pumas, ocelots, toucans, and hundreds of other species. The Ventanilla community works together to protect a lagoon surrounded by mangroves full of crocodiles and birds as well as a beach where Olive Ridley and Leatherback sea turtles nest.

While working for the conservation of endangered species in these communities, Beatriz developed a project for children and families to grow trees and plants in their houses and then plant them in the community or in their gardens in order to attract many of the more than 100 various species of birds that people from these communities have never even seen. Children collect the seeds of indigenous trees and plant them as an invitation for the birds to visit. In studying the trees and plants that could be grown, children are educated about the various trees that birds use for nesting, shelter and food, thus deepening their understanding of the native wildlife. At the start, they will be focused on planting flowers for hummingbirds. In addition, Beatriz hosts monthly workshops where children create together and in relation to wildlife, they will be identifying birds.

When she began to plan this engaging, educational and environmentally friendly project, Beatriz reached out to The Pollination Project.

“I found out about The Pollination Project a long time ago and I was just waiting to create a project that would be a perfect fit. When I saw the “Congratulations” email, I was super excited. It was after the hurricane and it was so good. I didn’t have a connection – no signal – so I answered the message like 2 days after and I was like I am going to have a signal so please wait for me,” laughed Beatriz.

Children will use recycled material to create flower pots that they can decorate – these will be a home for their plants until they are strong enough to be planted in the ground. As a special treat, every plant will be given a name by a child. Even now when finishing an activity, like painting, the children are super excited. They enjoy it so much that they ask to take the materials home which makes Beatriz incredibly happy.

“One thing I want is for this project to engage the children in conservation. I want them to become an Environmental Brigade. The more activities we do, the more I want them to feel they have a responsibility to care for nature. These communities are like paradise, they have beautiful, natural resources that I want them to learn to love and always care for,” Beatriz said.

For these amazing, wild children who live in the most beautiful, wild world, Beatriz’s message is one of inspiration and hope as she focuses on creating a generation of protectors of Nature – a true Environmental Brigade – that appreciates the exquisite beauty of nature and understands the true importance of caring for our natural world.

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Academic professionals Carla Forte Maiolino Molento and Rodrigo Morais-da-Silva founded Cell Ag Brazil at the end of 2023 with support received from The Pollination Project. The objective of the newly created association is to reflect, contribute, and promote the development of cellular agriculture in Brazil through proactive promotion and unifying actions among different audiences interested in the development, production, and commercialization of food through cell cultivation processes. 
With a seed grant, they founded the organization and designed a logo that represents their mission. They are now inviting people and organizations to participate in the association so that it gains greater relevance. 
Their members will be distributed across three chambers: 1) academia, 2) private sector, and 3) third sector and civil society. With this, they aim for diverse representation and to create a positive movement to act in different areas to promote and accelerate alternative proteins in Brazil and Latin America.
Billions of animals involved in food production in Brazil will be impacted in the medium to long term from this work. Data from IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) indicates that approximately 6.1 billion chickens, 56.5 million pigs, and 30 million cattle were slaughtered in Brazil in 2022. 
With this association, Carla and Rodrigo may help reduce the number of non-human individuals involved in food production as they help to speed up the replacement process with alternative proteins.
In this World Day of Social Justice we celebrate the transformative impact of The Pollination Project and our dedication to seeding the essential change our world needs. Since its inception, The Pollination Project has been at the forefront of empowering grassroots initiatives, providing the crucial support needed for small-scale projects to blossom into powerful agents of social change.

Our unique model of micro-granting has enabled a diverse array of projects across the globe, touching upon various facets of social justice including environmental sustainability, poverty alleviation, gender equality, and human rights. From providing clean water solutions in remote villages to empowering women through education and entrepreneurship, we always believed in the power of individual action to create a collective impact.

Each project funded is a testament to our faith in the inherent goodness and potential of every person to contribute meaningfully to the betterment of society. These initiatives not only address immediate community needs but also foster a culture of empathy, equity, and inclusiveness - essential pillars for achieving true social justice.

On this World Day of Social Justice, let's draw inspiration from the myriad projects The Pollination Project has nurtured. Their work reminds us that each small seed of kindness and action can indeed grow into a mighty force for good, paving the way for a more just and compassionate world.