The Amazon Rainforest is often called "the lungs of the earth", as it produces 1/5th of the world's fresh air, 1/5th of known medicinal plants and knowledge, one-half of its fresh water, and is home to about half of all species on earth. Ecuador is one of the most bio diverse places on earth and also has the highest rate of deforestation in all of Latin America.
Right now is critical as Ecuador is in the process (as of March 2013) of auctioning off 3 million acres of pristine rainforest to China for oil drilling. Indigenous groups who live on this land say they were not consulted by the Ecuadorian government in the sale of their territory. Environmental groups fear that what happened in the northern Amazon (i.e. the 30 year lawsuit against Texaco-Chevron) is about to happen again in the south.
This year's Global Seva Challenge funds will support (1) the protection of remaining rainforest areas, as well as provide (2) access to healthcare, (3) clean drinking water and (4) forestry and conservation training for indigenous and farmer communities living in the Amazon.
Think global, act local! In addition, OTM is spearheading a local campaign to raise awareness about our own energy use on an individual level, the issues around oil in our own countries (for ex: the Tar Sands Pipeline), and the implications of climate change worldwide.
Off the Mat and Into the World uses the power of yoga to inspire conscious, sustainable activism and to ignite grassroots social change. We see yogis everywhere taking their yoga off the mat and into the world!