EcoLogic’s newest field technician is Antonio Reyes Montejo, who has been working in the northern municipality of Ixcán, Guatemala for about six months. In this interview, Antonio explains why he loves his new role and why he is so passionate about agroforestry, reforestation, biodiversity, beekeeping committees, and all of the many conservation-based objectives of EcoLogic’s work in Ixcán.
What is your role with EcoLogic?
It’s to facilitate, share, and accompany. To be a connector for communities so they can access resources that will help them. I also ensure that our partners know how to best use and manage the resources and strategies that EcoLogic brings to them. Achieving results and being consistent are two of the most important considerations of my work.
What are your greatest achievements during your time with EcoLogic?
I think that one of the greatest achievements that I’ve been a part of is the establishment of beekeeping committees for the commercialization of honey in the region. I see this as an achievement because the committees that we have helped establish are functioning with the purpose they were created for, and the members of these committees work in an effective and organized manner. They are seeing that more often than not they get a better result when they work as a group. (Read more about beekeeping in Ixcán here!)
How do you believe EcoLogic’s work in Ixcán is making a positive difference for communities?
By accompanying and supporting communities in conserving the land, in reforestation, in implementing alternatives such as seed diversification, sustainable agriculture, and beekeeping, their quality of life is improved. These actions conserve nature and offer benefits to the environment and people’s health. It also benefits families economically because they consume what they harvest and sell some for extra income. Our actions improve the quality of the land and thus, produces a better harvest. And women in particular benefit from fuel-efficient stoves because they don’t have to gather and consume as much wood and their cooking is safer and easier.
What motivates you to conserve nature and work so closely with rural communities?
Nature gives us life. All living beings depend on it. We’re obligated to take care of it, conserve it, and protect it. Nature is our mother.
Plus, I like the work. Working with the communities is inspiring because the families we work with are so grateful and supportive. It’s such a rewarding and important job, in the end we all benefit.
What do you like most about working with EcoLogic?
The relationship with people in the communities, which over time becomes so close-knit. Knowing that we have common objectives to conserve and protect our natural resources is a feeling of belonging. We help communities know that they’re not alone in the constant fight for environmental protection. We reassure them that nature and its resources will last for future generations, so that those generations can live in harmony with a healthy environment. Contributing to making that possible brings me great personal satisfaction.
What is your dream for the communities you work with and for nature in Ixcán?
I would say my biggest dream is to raise people’s awareness about taking care of the environment. We all contribute to the forces that threaten nature. I think that if we are able to understand the harm that our current actions can have on the future, we will be more responsible in our choices. The majority of the time, people don’t consider how their day-to-day actions are harmful to the environment, but added up they become very dangerous. In summary, my dream is that we are more involved and aware, not only for ourselves but also for others.