Friends of the West End Park

Historic West End*Atlanta*GA

Did you know? August 5, 2009


Poster by Melanie Cervantes (

According to Conservation International, as of the middle of 2008, a plant or animal species was becoming extinct every 20 minutes. This process has accelerated at a rapid rate (in recent times) leaving many concerned about the sustainability of our future.

Bryan Welch (in an article for Mother Earth News-see source below) writes the following excerpts…

“We are aware that our population has been growing exponentially. We are aware that no species can expand infinitely on this finite planet. With this awareness comes responsibility.”

Scientists of the World Conservation Union estimate that 99% of recent extinction and currently threatened species have been or will be destroyed by human activities.

“As our economies are now structured, we depend on population growth to support economic growth. If demand for all goods and services were shrinking, values of all goods and services would also be declining in our current models”-writes Mr. Welsh.

Here are some of my thoughts:

So, the question remains how will an economic system that is based on consumption and population growth (capitalism) sustain in this ever-changing world? This is the time for humans to be visionary and secure sustainability for future generations!

As a child, I remember my family’s way of life was very different from traditional life in the United States. I grew up with many relatives living together so resources were shared and we were purposeful about not wasting or over-consuming. I had grandparents, aunts, cousins-which at one point or another lived with us. At a young age, we learned to be respectful of our environment, to stay grounded and humble.

My father taught me early on that living responsibly and making positive contributions to the world is our duty. I never saw us disconnected from our surroundings. He always taught me that America is one continent and that for thousands of years our ancestors travelled throughout the continent without restrictions. In many ways, our family was a matriarchy. My mother modeled behavior that ensured that as young girls we learned to be self-sufficient, strong and had good instincts. I learned valuable lessons from my grandparents about hard work, spirituality and our traditions. It was a different way of life and I’m so blessed for it. My Afro-Indigenous roots were rich with the wisdom I needed to be a strong woman, community member and mother.

These were stories of an Indigenous population dressed in fancy terms such as ‘Latinos’ to dilute our Amerindian ancestral identity-stories that went back thousands of years born from our ancestors’ thriving civilizations-which today still baffle those who visit ruins. It is there that you’ll find a legacy that is rich with lessons for all of us to learn.

Unfortunately, Indigenous communities in the Americas continue to be marginalized. Perhaps, now is the time to be humble and learn from these amazing pueblos, lets stop trying to pretend that dominant culture has all the answers. After all, many folks are now re-discovering natural medicine, herbal remedies, etc-many of these are our way of life. For example growing up- if you were dizzy or car sick you sniffed or nibbled on a lime, now young children take chemically-processed medications. Let’s be open-minded and stop the disrespectful and indecent treatment and displacement of indigenous people.

Sustainability is now!

Excerpts above from: “Planning for Sustainable Human Future” by Bryan Welch (Mother Earth News, April-May 2009)

*Correction-Initially the poster above was listed as one of Favianna’s creations but it’s actually from another fierce artist Melanie. A thousand apologies to Melanie for the error and pls check out her work at:


2 Responses to “Did you know?”

  1. Melanie Says:

    Can you please correct the artistcredit on this? It’s my piece- Melanie Cervantes


  2. friendsofthewestendparkatl Says:

    absolutely! many apologies!!! your work is beautiful!


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