I am very well aware of the importance of sustainability in our world. With the current climate crisis and the consumption of products in our world, sustainability is a key factor in the change that needs to occur. In the United States there is a lot more that we need to do regarding sustainability, but we are starting to recognize its importance. What I have noticed here in Brazil, and what I have loved deeply, is how much care they have for the planet. Sustainability is at the heart of many aspects in Brazil, and this was on display during our trip to the Atlantic Rain Forest.
Emily and I on the outlook with the sign for the park.
Going to the Atlantic Rain Forest I was unsure of what to expect. I had never been to a rain forest before and I am not someone who goes on a lot of hikes, either. I was excited to explore something new and learn about different plants and animals along the way. Since this is our fourth day in Brazil, I have been sitting with a lot of the other things that we had learned. I was wondering if my experience in the Atlantic Rain Forest would continue on that journey and it did. As soon as we had stepped off of the bus, we were greeted by a welcoming team of guides. Any anxiety about the hike slipped away as I felt I was taken care of by the team. Their excitement to show us the area made me excited to explore it as well. Their joyful spirit continued the familial feeling I have had since being in Brazil.
The tour began with a small talk about different parts of the park. The material they used to build the bridges that we walked across consisted of a mixture of wood and recycled plastics. The main building was made from recycled iron. They even collect rain water to help keep the lakes and rivers flowing in the park. Being introduced to the sustainability of the park at the start made me smile. It was evident that there was care for the forest in every detail. After years of mistreatment and deforestation there was an effort being made to make sure that the land was restored. Throughout the tour, the guides stopped and pointed out the different trees, plants, flowers, herbs, and insects to us. They would hand me leaves of different plants to smell that I would recognize from home, and they made jokes to get us laughing. Their joy to be in the park and sharing that with us made the whole experience well worth it.
Mikayla and I with leaves to smell on our walk.
From what I have gathered through capoeira, being with my host family, Portuguese classes, the tour of Natura, and the Atlantic Rain Forest is that Brazil is all about the human in community. Everyone is so close to each other and they have a deep care for those around them. With the Atlantic Rain Forest, I felt this through their care for sustainability. The care for the environment as an entity and as a place was evident. Every detail was thought out and seen in the ways that it needs. The guides all knew the forest on a deep level and respected the land that they walked on. They were one with the forest, and it felt like its own little community. Through the tour, the guides welcomed us into their community for the rest of our lives. They are part of our lives just as much as we are a part of theirs now. I am so incredibly lucky to have had the chance to walk through the Atlantic Rain Forest today and continue to experience the heart of Brazil.