Two Leaders in Ecuador Share How They’re Offering Climate Education Through Art + Travel

11 May 2021

With European Union member states saying they hope to agree on digital vaccination certificates to ease travel in the region by June 21st, 2021 many in the adventure travel industry are looking to the future with renewed optimism. In this context, veteran leaders and new entrants to adventure travel are focusing on the topic of sustainability and how best to extend sustainability best practices as travel returns. Results from a recent Adventure Travel Conservation Fund survey reveal that when asked about ‘leading issues for our industry,’ the majority of ATCF members chose ‘climate action,’ followed by ‘wildlife protection’ and ‘plastics reduction.’

Read on to learn more about how two creative leaders in Ecuador are approaching the opportunity to shape and influence climate action through their work.

Photo © Tomorrow's Air Artist for Air Andres Molestina

Jorge Perez, founder of Tierra del Volcan in Ecuador, and Andres Molestina, a photographer creating a historic record of the seven tropical glaciers remaining in Ecuador, recently shared practical ways they’re leveraging their work to help engage more travelers in climate action.

Photographer Andres Molestina uses both still images and video to awaken in people a sense of connection to the earth through his work, documenting tropical glacial retreat in Ecuador. As Andres describes, the purpose of his work is both to educate people as to the urgency of the problem while also conveying an essential optimism about the effort. Based on his own experiences in the mountains, he aims now for art that reaches beyond documentation to motivation.

“In the mountains I have made a connection to our lost roots; humans were nomads 1000s of years ago, and I believe I have some of that still within me.” As Andres observes, more people can understand and experience through creative media the many generations of history we have on our earth. As people become more aware of their true connection to the natural world, their commitment to supporting it finds greater expression—through activism, purchasing and voting behaviors.

Cotopaxi National Park Trek, Photo Courtesy Tierra del Volcan

Picking up the thread of an emotional awakening that leads to climate action, Jorge acknowledges that we are moving now into a phase with travel experiences in which service providers are going beyond simply setting the stage for unique experiences, to intentionally supporting and guiding guests on transformational experiences. While Tierra del Volcan supports reforestation practices, projects to improve the quality of education in the area, and reducing its use of plastic with a goal of becoming a plastic zero company, Jorge likewise agreed with Andres that the root cause of our current climate crisis is a lack of connection felt between people and their environment. 

Along with joining Tomorrow’s Air as a benefits provider, and sharing carbon removal education with his guests, his team has also developed a new itinerary to help guests experience the history of humankind. As Jorge describes, the entire experience is designed to connect our human experience with the history of the Earth. Over the course of the trip guests’ understanding of the interconnectedness of human existence and the natural world is strengthened. The trip unfolds in three ‘acts’:

  • Act 1: Begin in the Amazon Basin to understand our origins, sharing with hunter-gatherers of the Amazon basin and reflecting on our traditions and behaviors
  • Act 2: Travel to the Galapagos to understand evolution
  • Act 3: Conclude in the Andes to dream our future, speculating about where we want to be in the future and how we see our relationship with Pachamama
Jorge remarked, “What is at the root cause of the problems with our planet? From my perspective, we are living a human crisis, we have disconnected ourselves from nature. We are a more urban society, people who live in cities have never been in the wild, have never connected. You don’t miss what you don’t know. You don’t love what you don’t know … Tierra del Volcan is striving to offer experiences that allow you to connect to yourself to your environment to your family."

View their recorded presentation from Tomorrow’s Air Convene here as you consider ways your business can join in the cause to help restore our climate. As Andres and Jorge demonstrate, art and experience can be powerful tools to help extend awareness and understanding for our connection to earth, awakening commitment and hope in travelers and business leaders alike.

To learn more about how your business can engage with Tomorrow’s Air: contact [email protected].