Our Vision

We envision the County of Ventanilla, becoming the first sustainable County in Peru and thus, becoming an inspiration and concrete example of what can be done.
What we are doing to support this goals is:

Learning permaculture and developing a network of Permaculture Designers.
In time we hope to find financing to take them to Peru along with other trained volunteers.
Learning scale sized Sustainable systems that are flexible to be adapted to the richly diverse micro climates and ecosystems of Peru.

We hope that this will only be a first step. As we hope to be an example for what can be done with partnerships and determination.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mery, a driving force behind Sustainable Ventanilla

I'd like to introduce you to Mery. She is a biologist and she has worked as a biology teacher for 18 years.
First impression, you can tell by her smile that she is a warm and kind person.
Getting to know her, you will find that she is also very humble and finds it hard to talk about herself. So being true to Mery's sweet nature, I will let the pictures do most of the speaking.
I like this Christmas picture of her.
Mery has lived in Ventanilla for 44 years, so for most of her life she has been a part of the people of Ventanilla.
To help you understand Mery's passion (our passion) to help the people of Ventanilla, you must first learn about Ventanilla.
If you go to Wikipedia, there isn't much (in English) about Ventanilla. We learn that the District of Ventanilla is the largest district of the constitutional Province of Callao (Peru) and the second in population. That doesn't tell us much though does it?
Ventanilla may be the largest district in the Callao Province, but geographically it is disjointed and disorganized. Although it has gone through many economic, political, cultural, social and urban changes (just to name a few). Many have been poorly executed or totally unplanned. Ventanilla is a poor district, made up of a mostly poor population.
As the population grows, so does the levels of environmental contamination. It has grown to the point that the District can't keep up with cleaning it all up. There is not enough in the budgets of this poor district to retroactively clean up after everyone. Out of this knowledge is where Sustainable Ventanilla was truly born..
Some think, "What can one or two people really do to make a difference?" Well, This didn't stop Wolf or Mery. You see Wolf (now living in North America) reached across an ocean to help Mery make a difference in South America.
Hands out stretched in help and love can make a difference that can't be measured in gold or silver.

Mery enjoys working hard to protect our planet.
She says, "I think that education is a great way to form good habits for caring for the planet."
She has proven that time and again by giving "Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream" Symposiums and implementing environmental education in the school where she teaches.
Mery is an inspiration, not only to those who know her, but also those that see the work that she does. She is empowering children to make a difference. They are not just learning lessons from a book, they are seeing how actions can bring about change. Mery is not only teaching them that they can make a difference, she is also leading by example.

Mery --- Biólogo , Profesor, Ambientalista.. Despertar del sueño de un Sustaninable Ventanilla.
Thank you Mery for your drive and dedication.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Protegiendo el Medio Ambiente

Protecting our Environment... Areas of Green

That's what this is all about. We want to protect and sustain. This sign announces it for us, for everyone who holds environmental issues close to heart.

A sign can plant a seed, make people think or it can just be noise. So, what are we going to do with the seeds that have been planted? How are we going to work with the people who are now thinking? Are we going to move into action, or are we just going to be noise in the background?

I vote for watering the seeds, feeding the people information and being more than just elevator music.

Wolf had an idea that grew into an action. When he shared those thoughts and ideas with Mery, it planted a seed within her. He then watered that seed by sending her to training. She in turn has grown into this wonderfully beautiful tree that has spread the seeds of knowledge to many. She now has this splendid garden of eager children who have taken root and are moving forward with actions that make a difference. In turn, they too want to share what they are doing and what they have learned. They want to spread more seeds.

While all of this was happening, Wolf has been stretching out his branches and is sharing his excitement with others. I am one of those others. He took something that was already inside of me, something that I have been working towards for the majority of my life and he helped turn it into action. For once, I know what direction I'm going with this desire to help others and like a mother, protect what is dear to me. The world around us is so very important to me, to us.

I have to smile, Mery has me saved in her e-mail contacts as "carol lee ambientelista" Environmentalist Carol Lee. I like that!

So, I will pose one more question before I close. Where are you in your journey? Are you a seed waiting to be watered? Are you thinking and wondering what your next move will be, or are you just trying to drowned out the noise?

Until next time, this is Carol Lee, Wolf and Mery saying "Ser verde."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Someone asked me, "What the Heck is a Ventanilla?"

To help answer the question in the title, I thought I'd start with a couple photos. Words can only tell us so much, but picture speak volumes.

I like the motto, above the name, in the second photo.. Now forgive me if my translation is a little off, but I think it mean something like, "To Always be Bigger." Which I think can have many meanings if you think about it. But the one that comes to mind first is, "looking for growth". In a way, that's what we are doing. We are wanting to help Ventanilla grow in sustainability and become an example of environmental responsibility. Mery has done a wonderful job at getting this going. She has promised to send me more details so that I can share it with everyone. So, look for a post sometimes next week.

The photos tell us a great deal, but let me also give you some of the background about Ventanilla that I know.
Unlike the question that is in the title, Ventanilla is not a "what", but rather it's a "where". So, more correctly asked, "Where is Ventanilla?" Ah, now that is a logical question I can answer.
Ventanilla is in Peru. It is a county or rather a district, and according to Wikipedia it consists of eight urban areas and has something like 160 neighborhoods (or hamlets).
If you will look closely at the first photo, you will see homes on the side of the hill. From photos of different areas around Ventanilla that I've seen, this is very typical of the area.
Those are people that don't have much, but they use what they have and what they can find to make a place to live. To me, that shows determination and ingenuity. Those are the type of people that would seem to be more willing to learn how to be sustainable. I also see community and togetherness. In all of the photos I've looked at I have not seen just one little home standing by itself. Instead there are many homes close together, if not side by side. That also speaks volumes to me, and it seems to be saying, "We stand together".
I like that thought, and that is exactly what Wolf, Mery and I are doing. We are standing together to try to make a difference in Ventanilla. Our hope is that we will find others to stand with us, to form partnerships and make a lasting difference in people's lives.
So there you have it, those are the thoughts for today!
For now, Wolf, Mery and I would like to thank you for taking a few moments to read our Blog..

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Connecting the North with the South

The vastness of our world seems to be getting smaller with the help of Technology. Just last week I was on a conference call with people from over 100 countries. Never before have we been so connect and yet still so disconnected. We can know people from all around the world, but still not know about them. North America and South America are still so distant in understanding one another. Through education and partnership, we can start connecting the North with the South.

For us, that started with our Co-Creator Wolf. Let me tell you his story, which is also the beginning of our story.

Eric Wolf Bravo, is Peruvian born, and migrated to the United States in the early 1990's.
Bravo describes himself as an “economy refugee”, after the Peruvian government declared a 35% monthly inflation that brought most businesses to bankruptcy, including his own. Determined not to be a victim of the economy, he started a new life in the States. Working as a blue-collar employee, his personal drive helped him to become a manufacturing specialist. For 15 years he improved the production systems for all the companies that he worked for. At the same time he helped impliment practices that reduce the companies impact on our environment. In all this time he got acquainted with the mentality of North America , one based in consumption and wastefulness.

After 15 years Wolf returned to his country, to say goodbye and close that bitter chapter of his life. While he was there he realized, that while he had the opportunity to migrate, others could not. He saw that so many remain trapped in an economic and political environment that favored corruption and environmental destruction. So what started as a closure ended up becoming the birth of a movement. Ever since his trip, he has committed himself to find ways to help those in his home country.
With an unwavering determination, he trained himself in environmental sustainability, with an emphasis in sustainable food systems and community creation. He joined the Pachamama Alliance and is now a trained facilitator. He has also been trained in Transition Towns , United Global Shift and The Landmark Forum, just to mention a few.
Armed with all this knowledge he started to network and connect with other individuals from different countries, who are all involved in the same goal, which is creating a sustainable American Continent from the South to the North.

  • He is working in creating sustainability awareness within a Fortune 500 company.
  • Connecting with Permaculture designers in New York State , to create a network of support for Latin American Countries, and
  • His most ambitious project: Sustainable Ventanilla, in Lima Peru .

This low-income city surrounded by other small extremely poor hamlets. Over a year ago, in partnership with a teacher, they started an environmental awareness program. In a school with over 2000 students, bio diversity is now being taught in all high school levels, while other programs running at the Grammar school level, such as recycling programs and healthy food. These are all now the norm and the student engagement is raising weekly. The next logical step is a film festival, that will entice parents, community members and other schools in the same district to get involved.

The Teacher that Wolf Partnered with, is none other than his cousin and our Co-Creator Mery Gutierrez.

Mery is a biologist by training, and has lived in Ventanilla her whole life.
Having always been interested in biology and nature Mery and Wolf had much to talk about during his visit to Peru. About two years ago Wolf found out that there would be a big Awakening the Dreamer (ATD) symposium in Ecuador. When he asked her if she would like for him to sponsor her to go, she jumped at the opportunity.

Not only did she enjoy the Symposium, but she came back with a renewed desire to share what she learned, so she studied the materials and delivered the first ATD symposium to seven of her colleagues at a post graduate course.
Then she held a Symposium for 100 teachers at the school she teaches at.
Later she delivered it to thirty-five other teachers from schools in her school district.

So far the direct results of these efforts are:

  • The school started a recycling campaign, where there was none.

  • The school has changed to more healthy foods in the food kiosks.

  • They have also ended the usage of disposables cups (an average of about 1000 a day).
  • The increase of Environmental awareness: through a series of events like Earth Day theater, native dances, the declaration of Peru as a mega bio diverse country.
  • The school added to the curricula for the 7Th and 8Th grades featured animals and plants native to Peru.

Mery was the first ATD facilitator in Peru, now there are three others and one more on her way.
Wolf still sponsors Mery so that she can take more classes and specialized trainings. As the true teacher that she is, she shares all of her knowledge with others.

In the weeks and months to come, I will have Wolf and Mery share more about what they are doing. This is my part, to report and inform.
Until then, this is Carol Lee saying "Be Green!" :o)