The Role of Sacramental Plants in Sustainable Communities in the Western Amazon
Google Tech Talk
January 14, 2010
Presented by Paulo Roberto Silva e Souza.
The Amazon rainforest is an ancient and highly diverse ecosystem that provides essential benefits for our entire planet and everything that lives on it, breathes air and depends on water. This ecosystem is being destroyed and its existence is being threatened by unthinking greed in the form of cattle ranchers, the agriculture industry, logging, and the infrastructure required for these encroachments. The talk tells the stories of three communities living in the forest in sustainable ways as stewards with respect and emerging understanding of natures principles using the spiritual teachings transmitted through the use of sacramental plants: the Yawanawa tribe and the Santo Daime communities in Ceu do Mapia and Ceu do Mar. The common thread through the talk is the necessity for the social expansion of environmental consciousness and the ways that this can be facilitated in the minds and hearts of people living in the style of the Western World with its focus on acquisition and domination.
Paulo Roberto Silva e Souza received his degree in psychology from the University Gama Filho in Rio de Janeiro and began his professional carrier as a psychologist at the Pinel Hospital Suicide Prevention Center and the Ana Freud Clinic and Health Center Saint Romain in Rio de Janeiro. In 1976 he had first experiences with Santo Daime in Amazonia and was initiated by Padrinho Sebastiao. In 1982 he founded the first Santo Daime church outside of the Amazon in Rio de Janeiro which he still leads today. In 1985 he organized and led a multidisciplinary commission for the Brazilian government that conducted scientific research on the use of sacramental plants in the Acre and Amazonas states which led to the legalization of the church of Santo Daime in Brazil. As psychotherapist and shaman he introduced Daime ceremonies to 14 countries. In 1989 Paulo worked with IBAMA, the Brazilian Environmental Protection Agency, to preserve 1.6 million acres of national forests in the state of Amazonas, now the National Forests Mapiá, Inauini, and Purus. In conjunction with the UNEP-United Nations Environmental Program he implemented projects of environmental protection, forest extension and development for the Amazon. In 1994 he created the first National Heritage Private Reservation in Rio de Janeiro. He was a guest lecturer at Harvard University on environmental problems and solutions in Amazonia. Since 2008 he has been working on the project Eco Park Topo da Mata in the Natural Heritage Private Reservation.