My purpose for these interviews was to identify questions that triggered my interviewees to talk about how they define their relationship to nature. There were two questions in particular that I felt captured the essence of what I was looking for: “What do you think of environmental degradation?” and “Why is nature important?” Here are some of the responses that I heard. (Direct quotes translated from Spanish.)
What do you think of environmental degradation?
Calixto, Kallawaya (Andean Shaman): “Climate change is humanity’s fault. We angered our earth. We didn’t ask permission to take oil, minerals, etc… We have to coexist with Pachamama and restore equality. Nature is not an object.”
Grover, Kallawaya: “Environmental destructions ruins the equilibrium of the planet. It creates bad energy. Also, we have to give back to Pacha [the universe], and sometimes we can’t because cycles are disrupted. And so this in turn creates more unrest. “
Why is nature important?
Wilmer, age 17, lives in a rural town in northern Bolivia: “It is the air. If we contaminate it, we are hurting ourselves. We need to orient ourselves more with Pachamama.”
David, farmer in northern Bolivia: “I am an animal too. The environment needs to be good for me to be good. My life depends on nature. Nature connects generations. We are approaching something like what happened with dinosaurs, except it wasn’t their fault. This time it’s our fault. We are killing ourselves.”