Atossa Soltani & Manari Ushigua | Protecting the Heart of the World

The Amazon River is the largest river on the planet, with a flow greater than that of the next six largest rivers in the world combined. This enormous flow of water represents only 40% of all the water in the Amazon: the rest is managed by plants. A single Amazonian tree evaporates about 1,000 liters of water daily into the atmosphere, and throughout the Amazon rainforest there are believed to be about 400 billion trees. That enormous amount of evaporated water is what forms the colossal currents of atmospheric humidity that make it rain all over the planet. The Amazon literally pumps rain so that it reaches everyone. That’s why the Amazon jungle not only does the function of the lungs of the planet: it is also its heart, pumping the water, Gaia’s blood, to all the rest of the planetary organism of which we are a part… and we are destroying it. Atossa Soltani is the global strategy director of the Sacred Headwaters Initiative, an Amazon Watch initiative to protect one of the most important and critical areas of the Amazon. Manari Ushigua is the spiritual leader of the Sapara, the native Ecuadorian people who have been living and protecting this part of the Amazon since ancient times.