The Life of a Harvard Ethnobotanist: Richard Evans Schultes Richard Evans Schultes was a pioneering ethnobotanist and conservationist. In this video, Mark J. Plotkin, Ph.d., explains the impact of Schultes' life and career, his time at Harvard University, and details several of the species that Schultes brought from the Amazon to the outside world.
The largest and most endangered species in the Amazon rainforest is not the jaguar or harpy eagle, says Mark Plotkin, "but isolated tribes." In an overwhelming and sobering talk, the ethnobotanist takes us to the world of the indigenous tribes of the jungle and the amazing medicinal plants that shamans use to heal. It also points out the challenges and dangers that threaten these shamans and their wisdom, and alerts us that this irreplaceable repository of knowledge must be protected.
Video excerpted from The Shaman's Apprentice Amazon Conservation Team works in partnership with indigenous people to save the forest.
Mark Plotkin, groundbreaking ethnobotanist and author of seminal books including "Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice", works closely with Indigenous peoples and uncontacted tribes in the northwest Amazon. As co-founder of the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) in 1995, he depicts ACT's work partnering with over 30 South American tribes, including the Kogi, to map, manage and protect over 70 million acres of ancestral forests. He describes collaboration with elder healers to develop and implement successful "Shamans and Apprentices" programs to transmit sacred healing information down through generations within the tribes themselves.
You think protecting the Amazon is an outdated issue? Think again. The Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) is a nonprofit organization that works in partnership with indigenous people of tropical America to conserve the biodiversity of the Amazon Rainforest as well as the culture and land of its indigenous people. ACT was formed in 1996 by ethnobotanist Mark Plotkin and Costa Rican conservationist Liliana Madrigal, and to date has been active primarily in the northwest, northeast, and southern regions of the Amazon. http://www.amazonteam.org The Skoll Awardees: Mark and Liliana, a husband and wife team, have spent much of their lives preserving the Amazon rainforest and the knowledge and culture of its indigenous inhabitants.Â Liliana and Mark recognized that the loss of the forest and the destruction of tribal culture were inextricably linked and that one could not thrive without the other. Mark, an ethnobotanist, became hooked on plants, hooked on Indians and hooked on the Amazon through his mentor, the great Harvard ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes. Working to learn about the rainforest and preserve the knowledge of the elderly shamans, he realized that both were disappearing and that the tribes’ cultural destruction was inextricably linked to the destruction of the rainforest. Liliana is a passionate crusader for indigenous rights. She learned from her conservation mentors the value of an expansive vision and a feet in the mud attitude and brought these lessons to her work to co-found the national park system of Costa Rica and to ensure that traditional tribal knowledge and land management skills are passed on to younger generations. Mark and Liliana founded ACT in 1996 to preserve the cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon and develop their capacity to provide enduring protection of their rainforest home. At the time of the Award, ACT had brokered the creation of 12 tribal associations, worked with indigenous people to map and improve management of 40 million acres of Amazon forest, and created new categories of protected areas in the northwest Amazon, managed by local tribespeople in partnership with local and national governments. Skoll Awardees: Mark Plotkin and Liliana Madrigal Award Year: 2008 Issue Area Addressed: Environmental Sustainability http://www.skoll.org/ Video Credits: Camera: Daryl Higgins Editor: Patrick Barnes Producer: Gabriel Diamond Executive Producer: Phil Collis