What happens when a high-tech solar energy company visits people who live in a very decidedly low-tech way in the Amazon rainforest? San Francisco-based PURE Energies decided to find out. The result: today, deep in the Amazon basin, solar lights up the rainforest. But back in California? The people living in the rainforest lit up the solar company, too. PURE Energies is sponsoring this post so you can read all about their inspiring story.
Solar Lights Up the Rainforest
PURE Energies designs and installs residential solar systems in Ontario, Canada and in 35 states across the U.S. They don’t actually build any particular technology. Rather, they have developed a comprehensive online marketplace in residential solar. Through their proprietary platform, PURE Energies delivers a time-saving, complete analysis of the benefits solar energy offers homeowners, free of charge. In doing so, PURE energies has become a highly trusted advisor in the North American solar energy market.
The company’s CEO, Zbigniew Barwicz, is all about sustainable living, so much so that one day he decided to take some of his employees to the Amazon to see how the Kayapo, an indigenous people who have existed in the rainforest for eons, live sustainably. What could the techie Californians learn from the Kayapo – and vice versa?
As it turns out, the answer is: lots. The techie team, led by the International Conservation Fund of Canada, spent two weeks living alongside the indigenous Kayapo. They participated in their traditions, explored the Amazon basin, and learned how the Kayapo live in harmony with the world around them. (You can read more about their journey here.)
Why the Amazon? Because It’s Amazing!
• For one, the Amazon Rainforest helps stabilize the world’s climate by storing carbon and reducing the impacts of climate change.
• Even more amazing, more than 20% of all oxygen in out atmosphere is produced in the Amazon Rainforest.
• A single hectare in the Amazon Rainforest contains up to 450 species of trees. Compare that to the entire country of Canada, which has only a total of 180 species of trees.
• Twenty-five percent of Western medicines come from tropical forest ingredients, yet only 1% of tropical trees and plants in the rainforest have been tested by scientists.
• There are more species of fish in the Amazon River – one river – than are found in the entire Atlantic Ocean.
• The destruction of the Amazon rainforest has increased by almost one-third in the past year, the Guardian reported last year, reversing a decade-long trend of better protection for the world’s greatest rainforest.
• In fact, a high-resolution satellite analysis of global deforestation revealed that since 2000 an area equal to 50 football fields has been destroyed every minute.
• The total loss is 10 times the area of the United Kingdom. Only a third of that is being replaced by natural and planted reforestation.
Enter PURE Energies
PURE Energies’ CEO Barwicz wanted to see what was going on for himself, and help if he could.
The adventure was pretty eye opening. The Kayapo people effectively protect an area of rainforest that is bigger than more than half of the countries in the world and equal to the size of Virginia. Every day, their land is threatened by loggers, ranchers and miners. They respond by living in the sustainable way that has sustained them for eons. But they’ve also become savvy about tapping into media channels to help raise awareness about they threats they face, and that the globe faces, if their forests are destroyed. They’ve formed non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to obtain national and international conservation and development support for protecting their lands. And they’re developing non-timber forest products to generate modest income they use to purchase some modern-day supplies.
To help, PURE Energies distributed Goal Zero solar powered lanterns to the Kayapo Tribe in Kendjam, Brazil. The lanterns will be used to build their social enterprises, to help deliver babies at night, and for nighttime social gatherings.
Kayapo Light up PURE Energies
The PURE Energies expedition team, meanwhile, was amazed at what they learned about living simply and without fire in the Amazonian basin. They were so inspired, they have released a 5-part video series that touches on the topics of independence, courage, and leadership – all traits they observed among the Kayapo.
“For PURE, independence means giving homeowners the decision to take control of their energy bill and to make their own choices. Gone are the days where energy is without options,” said CEO Barwicz. “We are entering a new era, where homeowners have the potential to generate and directly use their own power. Through this trip, we will learn the truest form of independence and convey those learnings to the homeowners of America.”
You can catch more of this great adventure on the series airing this week and continuing until January. I encourage you to follow their journey here.