grantees » Alvaro Salem

Alvaro Salem, Costa Rica

In 2009, Alvaro Salem traded the bustle of Buenos Aires to dedicate his time to working in a small community in Costa Rica. Here he works as an Analogue Forestry apprentice for Eco-Era, a coalition of organisations working to achieve ecological restoration throughout local communities and private farms. This requires dedication to continuous learning, as well as financial commitments. Alvaro notes that he has had to “leave aside any economic ambitions,” but this sort of sacrifice outweighs his contribution to Eco-Era and sustainability. He is in charge of developing workshops for local farmers to encourage applying analogue forestry principles to their land and introducing them to the biology of the area through activities, mapping, designing and planting in degraded areas.

Alvaro used his JWH Initiative grant to follow two courses in the United States. He followed his first course on natural building and green designs. Back in Argentina, Alvaro followed a permaculture design course. He says, “Thanks to [these courses] I am now able to see things in a more integrated way. I have the ability to teach people how to build their own house with natural resources and how to integrate their lives with other living forms [on] their lands in a harmonic and reciprocal way. [This] knowledge gave me the confidence to try to motivate people to make substantial changes in their lives and be able to create abundance and harmony around them.” Alvaro plans to share his new skills with his colleagues in order to improve Eco-Era. His ambitions are rational as he says, “Don’t waste energy trying to change things that are already too big. I recommend we start making different choices in our daily lives, and be…the change we want to see. I think is very important to teach with examples and not with words only.” He dreams to live in a world where food is organic and abundant, energy is renewable and local economies have the strongest value in trade. It is apparent that Alvaro takes his own words to heart as the choices in his life are the choices he would like to see in the world.

Nominated by

Eduardo Aguilar:  International Analog Forestry Network (IAFN) Costa Rica.