Why Support Salve Tapuio?

Yeah, just one more online store selling designs someone makes while sitting at his computer instead of actually working. Why should anyone buy it?

Well, if you’ve bothered to read this far, you may have actually looked around a bit at this bulky, badly maintained site where I ramble on and on about some place called Tapuio and why it is important to ME and how indignant I AM that no one seems to care.
Get over myself. Amirite?
And go get a real job!
I know.
I feel that way sometimes too.
So why buy from Salve Tapuio? What is Tapuio? What’s the story?
If you’re here, you might already have seen a bit of the backstory. If not, you can find some of it here. Looking around, you might find more details. But I can summarize it all right now.
When I left the United States in 2007 I was headed to Paraguay. I got as far as a mountaintop in Brazil. Tapuio. Located in the interior of Iconha in the state of Espírito Santo, it was a tiny abandoned bit of mountain forest, between 1000 and 2000 feet above sea level, with a clear view of the Atlantic Ocean and the whole southern coastline of the state. It was a paradise of wildlife, tranquility, beauty, climate, natural springs, and color.
Originally I had no electricity, no bathroom, but I had fresh spring water and all the beautiful sky I wanted. In the time since 2007, farmers have cut down almost all the forest to make pasture for cattle or clearings for coffee, the sun has dried up many of the springs, weekend tourists trek up the mountain on motorcycles bringing noise and trash, the beautiful wildlife has all but disappeared to hunters, and whatever trees and plants escaped the farmers’ saws have dried up under the relentless winds and intense sun.
These designs are based on what was and still is and what may one day once again be in Tapuio. I dream that one day I might be able to buy the rest of the land there and reforest, once again watch frogs sleeping on leaves as ipê flowers tumble down around them, once again come upon ant eaters scurrying through the brush, once again watch porcupines walking among the branches of the fruit trees.
All sales go toward that end. Saving Tapuio.
I support myself by teaching English, French, and Spanish. I’m a good teacher. I like most of my students and some of them even like me. Most of the time, teaching even covers my expenses.
But I can’t teach from Tapuio. I can’t even return to Tapuio at the end of the day. The municipal government does not maintain the road. It is in such a state of decay that even in daylight with good weather, driving up is precarious. Returning at night, or in rainy weather, is suicide.
So in order to support myself, I must stay away from Tapuio. I am only able to return home on weekends. And if the weather is rainy, not even then.
Hunters and others, however, are able to go up at will. Hunters, bird gatherers, and orchid gatherers invade almost daily. When I was able to stay there, I was able to control their activity. I was a threat. Now, they have almost complete freedom to destroy at will.
And they do. Sometimes their focus is my house. They break doors, smear feces on the walls, throw my possessions about.
More often, their focus is the destruction of the forest itself. Sometimes groups of as many as 30 will ride up on trail bikes, completely obliterating the already badly deteriorated road. They even forge trails through the forest, hacking away at trees and plants, destroying everything in their paths, filling the whole mountain with the sound of their destruction. Other times, smaller groups will walk or drive up, cutting jussara palms for their hearts, capturing birds, hunting the wildlife, or simply to see what they can find, all the while tossing trash everywhere. Land owners with no brains clearcut forest to make pasture, then bring in more cattle than the rocky mountainside can support.
The result is complete destruction. Many of my past posts talk about this in greater detail, such as this one. The campaign is over, the link deactivated. But the information is the same.
You’ll also see what Salve Tapuio actually represents to me. It isn’t just this one small area, this insignificant spot that doesn’t even register on a map. Tapuio is any dream for a better world, for a supportive, nondestructive space that generates love and caring for life.

You also get to know that you are at home in this world everywhere, not just in your house, and that your community is all life. We learn that after tornadoes and hurricanes and wars. Do we need a disaster to give us a sense of community, of shared life? You already share life. Let Tapuio represent a positive love for all life.

Share love. Share Life. Salve Tapuio!

As I stated, at the moment I teach and spend most of my time away from Tapuio. I simply can’t afford to stay there. In my absence, it suffers relentless attacks. One of the ways I might be able to afford to spend more time there is through your purchases. A little more money coming in would allow me to stay there, develop projects that generate income without destroying the area. And my presence would deter much of the current destruction.

More money coming in might allow me to ultimately acquire more of Tapuio, remove it from the destructive agricultural practices people use. I could replant trees, promote a return of wildlife, increase the humidity once again, protect this fragile environment. The repercussions of this protection would benefit everybody in the area. Water would again flow more freely, the possibility of landslides would decrease, the sedimentation of springs would decrease, soil fertility would increase, and perhaps people might come to realize it isn’t necessary to destroy a forest in order to produce a marketable product. Unfortunately, there is a sense of quantity over quality in this area. People plant the fastest and cheapest to produce a quick and dirty product with limited quality. There are other better ways and products. I’m trying to show a better way, but I can’t stay in Tapuio to plant and provide the initial care that many better plant products require. I also don’t have the money necessary to acquire many of these plants. Sometimes I grow them from seeds or cuttings. Now there’s a slow process. In the meantime, people are ripping up whole swaths of land.

You can see in this photo an area that has been recently cleared. It is at the base of a ravine on a steep slope. Logic tells us what will happen next strong rain we get, which may be tomorrow.
You can see in this photo an area that has been recently cleared. It is at the base of a ravine on a steep slope. Logic tells us what will happen next strong rain we get, which may be tomorrow.

More money coming in would allow me to acquire the plants which could transform agriculture as it is currently practiced in Tapuio, transform it for the better.

I have plans for Tapuio and for this area. Their development takes time and money, and participation. It’s kind of hard to do when I must spend most of my time in a neighboring community teaching in order to eat. Supporting Salve Tapuio allows me to dedicate more time to those plans. And I invite your participation, not only through purchases of these designs, but through actual visits. I even wrote a post about this. Feel free to come down here and participate. Your presence is welcome. I only ask you leave your pets at home. Even with the degree of destruction, Tapuio is still a wild place. It is no place for pets.

All of the designs are based on the leaves, textures, flowers, and colors of Tapuio. Back when I first got here, I had a decent camera. Someone decided they needed it more than I did. Now I have only my cellphone camera, which is ok, but far from good enough. So I use the pictures to recreate the textures and colors through these designs which I then offer as t-shirts or other products in an attempt to  raise both money and awareness.

Why Zazzle? Because they offer an amazing array of quality products at affordable prices. There is no way I could offer my designs on so many items without Zazzle. From t-shirts to belts to coffee cups to fabric, and a world of other items, they make it easy. They are simply amazing. Want a sapucaia flower on a coffee cup? Done! Want that same sapucaia flower on dinner plates as well? Done. In fact, you love sapucaia flowers so much, you want to upholster the sofa with sapucaia flower linen upholstery. Done. (Actually, sapucaia flowers look like deep sea creatures and I don’t think they’d look

Deep sea creature? Nah. Sapucaia flower.
Deep sea creature? Nah. Sapucaia flower.

good as upholstery, but I could be wrong.)

Zazzle is also great for another reason. It lets the customer personalize the design on their products. So you want that sapucaia flower on a tshirt, but you also want your name across the bottom. Just do it! Zazzle has a personalization button that allows you to add text, alter the are the design covers, etc. Personalize! Want a different style or color tshirt? Change it! It’s that easy! A few designs only work on certain colors or in certain styles. In those cases I have removed the option to personalize. But if you really want a different style, let me know and I’ll be glad to alter it for you so it works.

Same goes for a product. You like the sapucaia flower, but don’t want it on a tshirt. Instead, you do want it on a tote bag. In some cases it’s as easy s simply selecting the product. In other cases, I would need to adapt the design for the product. I’ll gladly do this. Just let me know!

There are thousands of people promoting millions of designs most of which are far better than mine. There are thousands of causes that need help and support. And there are gardens needing to be tended. As I wrote here, you can, or not, get involved. The choice is yours. As I wrote,

You don’t have to do anything.
But you can.
There are 7 billion people on this planet. Who you are makes no difference. But what you do means everything.
Start living. Start loving. Start meaning something.

Salve Tapuio

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