Valentine’s Day is upon us. Whilst this day quite rightly fills most of us with dread, Cool Earth has a story that should lighten the heart of the most cynical among us.
At 21 years-old Huber arrived in Peru’s Ené Valley. He came to work for an illegal logger that was clearing the region’s mahogany.
His parents had moved to the Junín Province during the years of the Shining Path and Huber stayed on for work. When an illegal logger employed his older brother in the Ené he took Huber along with him to help.
Working as a stevedore, Huber transported cut trees to the river and floated them downstream in vast rafts to the nearest port 25 miles away. Huber estimates that the illegal team felled and transported more than 5,000 cubic metres of tropical hardwood in the year that he worked for them.
It was hard and dangerous work for a boss that cheated him and the communities where they were working.
Then everything changed. Huber fell in love. He fell in love with the chief’s daughter.
“I fell in love with the woman who is now my wife here and that’s why I stopped working with the loggers, because of my wife, Mikaela.”
Huber quit logging and married Mika.
After Huber left, Peru’s National Institute of Natural Resources (INRENA) seized 20,000 cubic feet of logged mahogany that the loggers were trying to take to the port. The loggers fled and the mahogany, much like how poached ivory is treated, was left to rot in the forest as a warning to the loggers.
As for Huber? He now lives with Mikaela and their three children in the forest – Maycol, Maxis and Yeimi. He’s become one of the central figures of Cool Earth’s Ashaninka Project, which has not lost a single tree to loggers since it started in 2008.
“The forest is nice now that there is no logging here. Forest is not sold here. Cool Earth is really helping the community so we can conserve the forest.”
To find out more about the problems facing the rainforest, and how CO2Count and Cool Earth are helping to protect the rainforest and its local communities, please visit our website.