Unsung Heroes: Dimension Natural

Posted by on Dec 3, 2013 in Blog, Unsung Heroes

Unsung Heroes: Santiago Gibert Isern, Alan Monroy Ojeda and Perla Platas Garza –Dimension Natural

 

At the 10th World Wilderness Congress we discovered hundreds of young activists who were working quietly behind the scenes to make the WILD vision a reality. We felt that these people’s activities should be recognised. In keeping with the knowledge that young people are the future, we asked our team of young trainee journalists in the press office to go out and interview them.

Santiago Gibert Isern, who is head of the young initiative Dimension Natural, is very passionate about photography. Together with Alan Monroy Ojeda and Perla Platas Garza, he uses his pictures to protect wildlife and educate the Mexican people about the functioning and the status of ecosystems. Their message is clear: the environment is beautiful, but we have to act to protect it.

“With my pictures, I’d like to show society how great nature really is. I want to mobilize different groups to conserve the big reserves and biodiversity in general. People should fall in love with nature, and get involved in the conservation movement.” So far, he has exhibited pictures of mangroves, cloud forests and various biological corridors. He publishes these photos in books, which he sells to raise money for conservationist projects.

Dimension Natural took off after WILD9, and managed to get support from the Mexican Government and several businesses. Around two years ago, the team started an integrated conservationist project in Chiapas. Together with the Orantes family, who own a terrain of 1200 hectares, they made a start with ecological research and educating local people. Meanwhile, they continuously publicise their activities by visiting congresses and exhibitions.

“Eighty-five percent of the Orantes family’s land is destined purely for conservation. The other 15% is used as coffee plantations” says Santiago. Alan jumps in. “It is a great piece of land, because it houses very exceptional species such as the endangered Ornate Hawk-Eagle, the Tapir and the Jaguar. We found four Ornate Hawk-Eagle´s nests, which is the highest density ever measured in Mexico. It is an indicator species for healthy cloud forests.”

The presence of these species is partially thanks to the owners, who use simple measures to combine high quality coffee production with nature conservation. One of the most important qualities of the system is that the trees have not been cut, even on the plantation sites. “You can meet a Jaguar between the coffee plants”.

Perla explains her part. “We are now starting to target surrounding communities and local coffee producers, to educate them about nature, quality of life and environmentally-friendly coffee production with low resource use. We can show through experience that this combination is viable. One of the things we do is to let children colour pictures of nature.” They are also working towards the production of participative documentary videos with locals.

Dimension Natural’s other ambition is to start a research centre in the area in Chiapas, just as it is doing in the North of Mexico. “We are the first ones to point out the corridor potential of this location” explains Santiago. “Other environmental groups are interested. We think it needs to happen, because the neighbouring parks are currently separated”.

Santiago wraps it up. “It is becoming clear that combining science with art is an extremely powerful way to raise awareness among many different groups. We see that we are not alone, and that gives hope. We can´t stress this enough: it is not too late. We all have to act now!”

Dimension Natural: http://www.dimensionnatural.com

This interview was conducted by Gilles Havik – Gilles, who is from the Netherlands, graduated in Biology & Forest and Nature Conservation and is currently working for the municipality of Amsterdam on various conservation projects. He writes a blog called Sailing On Dreams.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *