Medicine for the Outdoors
Medicine for the Outdoors

Dr. Paul Auerbach is the world's leading outdoor health expert. His blog offers tips on outdoor safety and advice on how to handle wilderness emergencies.

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Amazon Conservation Team: Mapping the Amazon

members of the Ipkeng tribe with a land map
members of the Ipkeng tribe
Medicine for the outdoors is predicated on there being healthy and thriving outdoor environments, including wilderness. There are many organizations that support conservation and preservation. One of my favorites is the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT).

My good friend Mark Plotkin, Ph.D. is President of the ACT and one of the world’s leading ethnobotanists. I met with him recently and he explained the amazing work that is being done by ACT, which connects policymakers and indigenous leaders, in order to share proven and replicable models for achieving local empowerment and partnering in global projects that recognize that traditional lives are sustainable lives.

As noted in the Amazon Conservation Team 2009 Annual Report, with acceleration of global climate change, investment in sustainable local models also makes economic sense. ACT is increasingly making use of technology to do so. For example, they have recently partnered with Google Earth Outreach to generate virtual tours of regions subject to deforestation. In this way, there can be quantification of cause and effect, and the success or failure of efforts to preserve forested areas.

photos courtesy of the ACT
photos courtesy of the ACT
Mapping lands allows them to be better managed and protected, and improves the possibilities that indigenous people will take leadership roles in preserving endangered rainforest. Other initiatives undertaken by ACT include connecting indigenous women with native healers, women healers’ conferences, and the installation and maintenance of medicinal and nutritional gardens. On a platform of connecting people and land, skill building, supporting traditional healers and perpetuating their knowledge and wisdom, practicing good medicine, and encouraging economic equality via financial management and training, ACT is a “can do” organization. I encourage you to learn more by visiting the website at 

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Tags: General Interest , On the Road

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About the Author

Dr. Paul S. Auerbach is the world’s leading authority on wilderness medicine.