Q1. What makes you passionate about helping Misión Gaia?
I didn’t start out seeking a career in photography. I started out as a landscape architect, with an interest in sustainable design. Along the way I became involved with a small NGO working to protect the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest and its culture. What I discovered was a small group of dedicated and committed people whose efforts, working hand and hand with local communities, had a profound impact on the region – for the better. It was a story that I believe needed to be told, so began my interest in making images, as a way to show what was happening in this and other significant corners of the world.
I am particularly honored to help tell the story of Misión Gaia through photography. Their mission is not unlike that of the group I worked with in the Amazon – to promote the sustainable use of natural resources and increase the well-being of communities in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Columbia. Considered the tallest coastal range in the world, and a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is valued for its variety of ecosystems, high number of endemic species, rich biodiversity, and hydrological resources. It is also home, and sacred land to four indigenous groups. The area has been off limits for many years during Columbia’s long civil war. Peace has brought new opportunities for exploration, and with it the challenges of development. For the past 8 years Misión Gaia has been working diligently to protect one of the world’s most significant places by providing environmental education and strategies to reduce the impact of development, and unsustainable tourism.
Q2. How do you believe your photography can make a difference for them?
I have pursued making photographs for many years, initially as a tool for documenting design, later on as a way to understand the world and its potential for creating awareness about contemporary issues. In this instance, I believe photography provides a real opportunity to help connect people with their natural heritage and explore the important links between communities and natural ecosystems. My intent is to create compelling imagery for Misión Gaia in a way that is engaging, communicates a story of hope, and helps inspire local as well as global communities to care about the choices they make about their environments.
Q3. What message would you like to send to your supporters?
From my point of view, everything on this planet is connected.
That promoting sustainable communities helps increase or at least maintain biodiversity which underpins life as we know it - the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink. Its loss puts the earth’s natural assets at risk along with our own health and livelihoods. That supporting grassroots organizations like Misión Gaia, and others like it around the world, are small steps that can make an impact both locally and globally.