Tree Ambassadors Erica Largen and Faith Johnson traveled to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala to share a rainforest tree leadership workshop at Cosmic Convergence; an annual music, arts and culture festival on December 27, 2016 through January 1, 2017.
So there we were, Faith and I, traveling across mountains and towns of Guatemala. It’s amazing how a foreign language can make you feel like a humble idiot. Three days after tuk tuk trips, boat rides, airbnbs and loads of walking, we arrived at the festival.
With wrist bands on hand we went to our campsite where our tent, super comfortable sleeping pad and pillows were set up and waiting for our arrival. What hospitality!
We brought ourselves on behalf of nonprofit Community Carbon Trees. The fest featured incredible music and the opportunity to network with fellow activists and earth warriors.
While festival setup continued on the first night, we laid down to look at the stars. This gave our bodies, minds and spirit time to take in the sacredness of the land surrounded by ancient volcanoes and the high elevation Lake Atitlan. With our heads already in the grass, we were joined by an activist from Britain and a couple from Central America. We talked about ideas of living on planet Earth and our how to heal her.
During the days, when we weren’t putting finishing touches on our presentation, we attended other workshops. The topics of fungus, community organizing, health, women, social and environmental justice were fun and packed with useful knowledge.
Did you know: in Guatemala 98% of the land is owned by 2% of the people?
Today global economic interests and the national government continue to use police and military power to take land from native Guatemalan people to build hydroelectric electricity infrastructure, superhighways and pipeline infrastructure.
*Shameless plug* for community carbon trees and how we plant trees on farms owned by local farmers so we can develop long-term economic and environmental sustainability in the community.
On Saturday we presented our workshop in the Numundo workshop space. Highlights of the workshop –
- We discussed why rainforest trees are important and how reforestation contributes significantly to global carbon sequestration.
- Leaders as healers. Healers empower others and that’s what leadership is.Or as Lao Tzu once said, “When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves.'”
- How community carbon trees empowers local families and how activists can get involved by becoming a tree ambassador.
We got our hands dirty making seed bombs as workshop attendees left the collaborative space.
The experience at Cosmic convergence was unmatchable. We rang in 2017, danced, sang, prayed, met contacts and grew our network of tree friends. Faith became a more confident public speaker.
We are grateful to work on behalf of an organization that allows us to do work that fills us with life.
Ut Prosim. That I May Serve.