The Nature Conservancy

Although Paul and I are still working with Mujeres: Cambia and we are finishing up projects with Fundación Neo Juventud, I have a new official counterpart here in Quito: The Nature Conservancy (TNC).

TNC works to preserve ecologically important lands and waters on which life depends. TNC works in over 35 different countries, including most of Latin America, and has been working for many years in Ecuador.

I have been working with them for a few weeks now and it’s been great! I am helping out with communications, marketing, and design work. My first project is a presentation that will be shown to all of the cashiers at the posh supermarkets: Supermaxi and Megamaxi.

The campaign is to encourage folks to bring reusable bags to the supermarket – not a very popular custom here. For every reusable bag a customer brings instead of using a plastic one (their plastic bags are also biodegradable BTW) the customer receives a little cardboard “coin” that can be deposited in one of two boxes. One box represents an investment in the Ministry of the Environment’s programs around Ecuador and the other box represents TNC’s projects.

In particular, this campaign will support the Water Funds and Coastal Jaguar Habitat programs. TNC has established community-run trust funds that support conservation and restoration of Ecuador’s natural water sources that stretch the length of the country all along the Andes and provide drinking water to the majority of the population.

Working with TNC, I have learned that the coastal jaguar is in danger of extinction. Its habitat – the seasonally dry forests on the coast – has been obliterated by agriculture, logging, and neglect. TNC works with several stakeholders and foundations (including Coca Cola) to conserve, reforest, and educate the public about this important habitat.

So, my presentation is something that will encourage the cashiers to promote the campaign more and to ensure that they are knowledgeable about where the support will go.

Think of me and TNC the next time you bring your reusable bags to the grocery store!

Mari

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