I’ve been relatively quiet the last few days about my campaign on indiegogo for two reasons: I wanted to give it a rest for Christmas and I have been busy with other matters. But that doesn’t mean the campaign is over, or that all is well.
My campaign ends on the 28th. That’s in two days. So far, there have been three donations, totaling less than $175.
I’ve received no questions about my campaign, no inquiries to find out what it is all about.
According to the Google Analytics data, it has received almost no visitors (74 to be exact, as of yesterday).
Part of a crowdfunding campaign relies on the power of social networking, mostly by friends and family. I must admit I’m a bit of a failure in that regard. I’m not particularly social. Most of my spare time is spent in the forest, not around people.
I asked my friends and family to help me. I asked for feedback on how to make the campaign better. I did receive two comments, from strangers, offering to spread the word and make the campaign a success, for the small fee of $200. A costly, manipulated success. I didn’t go that route. I’m not very good at marketing.
I also received two other comments, both in personal communications. One person told me no one cares, a comment to which I took offense in another post. People do care. They just don’t care about the same things. Apparently they care about sending Facebook God’s father on a vacation.
Tapuio is just a spot of land. Hardly inspiring.
The other comment was that I am where I want to be doing what I want to do. To which I would say, Maybe. But I didn’t plan on a power surge burning up my computer. Nor did I plan on a thief stealing my camera.
And I did predict the all out attack on Tapuio. Which is happening.
Everything can be better. We can always work to improve the world around us.
The world around me is Tapuio, a very degraded spot of Atlantic Forest in the southeast of Brazil.
When I bought here in 2007, I envisioned possibilities. I could see people coming here to do research in this magnificent place, research about environmental comebacks in a devastated region, research about experimental agricultural practices which do not destroy the environment. I envisioned people coming here to relax, remove themselves from the constant noise and pollution and stress of populated environments. Perhaps not Van Gogh’s Yellow House, but something in that direction.
There were signs of this when in 2010 a few people did come and wrote beautifully about both Tapuio and my vision. But it never went any further. My camera was stolen and I could no longer post photos.
My camera was my protection and the protection of Tapuio. People around here don’t see Tapuio as an environment to be protected, but as an environment to be exploited, cut down, turned into barbecue and bananas and coffee. Not even good coffee! Its birds are seen as payment on a motorcycle, a new washing machine, a few more crates of beer for a party. The rest of the wildlife is seen as nuisance or food. Everything is killed off.
Without my camera, I could not protect Tapuio and the hunters and destroyers returned with a vengeance. One guy even mounted a small jeep with a high chair in the back where hunters could sit mounted in style as they picked off monkeys, large birds, small mammals. Without my camera, I couldn’t do much more than confront them, standing in front of the jeep, the guy in the high chair with his rifle glaring at me.
Without my camera, I cannot protect Tapuio. Every photo of Tapuio I post is over four years old. I have no current photos of Tapuio.
I still write about Tapuio. Just as I always have. I have written to organizations and research facilities and universities. Some expressed interest, only to let time carry the interest away. Others tell me they are already active in the area, in Alfredo Chaves, a city to the north of here with a very different environment, very different mentality, and very nice (and very comfortable) homes.
Most just never respond.
I still have hopes that someone will decide Tapuio can be a place for research. I’m not really grounded in reality, I guess.
And with a little more time, there will be nothing to research.
Without my camera I cannot document the destruction taking place, the clear cutting, the breach of trees at the top of the mountains. Yesterday, as I was coming down, I came across a small coati that had been partially eaten and left on the road. Only one animal does that: Dogs. And dogs are not a part of Tapuio. They go there with their owners to inflict horrible depredation against the wildlife.
Because of the heavy rains coupled with the deforestation, the risk of landslide is very real. I cannot document this, and without photos, people don’t see it. And if they can’t see it, they don’t care. Out of sight, out of mind. The people below the mountain are moving out, afraid of landslides. The very same people who are clearing Tapuio of its trees.
This year my computer suffered the effects of a power surge. It actually blew fire out the cd slot and power connection. It now overheats continually and I am afraid I am going to lose it, and with it all my photos and writings.
My photos are the documentation of change and destruction in Tapuio. My computer is their storage and my means of communication with the world.
My campaign is about preventing the needless destruction of Tapuio and perhaps mapping an alternative, brighter future for the area. The tools are a computer and a camera.
I am asking you to help me give Tapuio a better future.
Is two days enough time? Probably not. But I have to try. Tapuio is my home.
Please, consider donating. And please share this. Let people know about this campaign.