Day 3 – May 4, 2014:
Business Visit: Mindo Cloud Forest
Takeaway #1: Getting there is half the battle.
Day three started out early! Once we were on the bus and started heading out to Mindo, things got interesting. My takeaway from this trip is that there are no easy ways to get from point A to point B in Ecuador. Our journey from Quito to Mindo was beautiful. We were able to make our way through the barrios of Quito and to the outskirts of the country region. As we made our drive, we stopped at a small village and had a bathroom break. There we were able to eat some empanadas made fresh inside a little house on the corner. As the trip progressed, the roads wore thin. We reached one point where we all had to get out and walk around a mudslide that knocked out half the road. The bus driver cautiously maneuvered around it in some dirt track as we watched from the other side. Almost there? The road just kept winding and twisting and turning around the mountain sides. The further we got, the more I felt like civilization had left us.
Takeaway #2: Exploring the trails.
[sociallocker]Once we arrived at the Mindo Cloud Forest, we were ready for a some exploring. Mindo is a mountainous terrain, placed in the slopes of the Andes. This is where the two most biologically diverse ecoregions in the world meet. They are known as the Tropical Andes and the Chocoan lowlands. The trails we hiked were full of life and felt alive. We were able to see rare Rhino beetles, Centipedes, beautiful flowers, ferns, and other hanging vines and mosses. My only regret is that we didn’t stay longer to explore the other trails, go rafting, tubing, zip lining, or horseback riding. We only saw a small portion of this beautiful place, but that just gives me more incentive to go back and see more.
Takeaway #3: Protecting places like Mindo.
The hot news today is all about the economic policies created by Obama to try and protect the earth by taxing the people and putting policies in place that stop CO2 emissions. Weather that is right or wrong is not my point in this journal, I am simply stating that Eco-friendly states and countries are cashing in big time from these policies. Weather is through greenhouse emissions and technology created to reduce those emissions or whether it is deforestation policies that are over regulated, or in tourism, there is money to be made. Ecuador has the cloud forest, the Amazon Rainforest, and so much more as far as eco-diversity in the natural landscape. I personally think that the evidence is clear about global warming, etc. Much of what we hear is hype and misrepresented statistics to drive an agenda. The Cornwall Alliance has been a great source of information about the statistics in global warming. It teaches you how to read statistics and analyze data that otherwise is used as propaganda for hidden agendas. On the other hand, we have to take everything with a grain of salt and weed out the errors. Hidden gems like the Mindo cloud forest are amazing places with so much to gain from it. I would hate to see the encroachment of machinery start tearing away its beauty. So I assume that the Amazon rain forest would give me a similar feeling if I visited it. Main point is that we need a balance. God provided the earth for our use, we have dominion over the land, but we need to keep it intact and beautiful. The people of Ecuador also feel that their lands needs to be protected but they also have the hard choice of whether to soak up their resources by digging for oil and cutting down the trees so they can thrive, or preserving the land and living a poverty stricken way of life because they will not see the profits of the oil. They are not left with many options economically.
Day three was my favorite day of the trip! I love business and economics, but the cloud forest was a breath of fresh air. If there were any reason to go back to Ecuador, for me it would be to explore more of the Mindo cloud forest.[/sociallocker]