What quality describes a transformed Honduras? – Zarela Alvarado

Zarela Alvarado
Our Voice

What quality describes a transformed Honduras? – Zarela Alvarado

Climate change is presented as one of the main challenges of our generation, the global panorama is not encouraging and it is even less so for countries like ours with a high environmental and social vulnerability that places us in the first places of the countries that will suffer its consequences the most despite being one of the countries that generates the least pollution. This was evidenced during Eta and Iota, recent hurricanes that devastated our country, especially the most impoverished sectors that even several years later have not yet recovered. Given this panorama, it is essential to recognize the existence of new forms of knowledge and resistance to join forces in the face of the climate crisis.

A few years ago, I began a scientific research project that sought to delve into other forms of endogenous knowledge of the indigenous Lenca people in communities historically forgotten by different governments and international bodies, in the departments of La Paz and Intibucá. When carrying out the different stages of research, I discovered how these populations offer different forms of resistance and cultural control, ranging from ritual practices to sustainable ways of life to adapt to the new global crises brought by the so-called modernism. These communities taught me that there are different ways of contributing to the country’s development. While they seek a way to persist with their traditional ways of life and communities of practice and face the onslaught of the climate, they present sustainable tourism strategies with a gender focus, development of agricultural practices in tune with the preservation of natural resources, protecting the forest, water and in full defense of their territory, in countless circumstances, offering their lives.

I couldn’t help but question whether sustainable development really is a possible paradigm to achieve while continuing to isolate the most vulnerable, who represent just over 14% of the Honduran population. As long as other forms of knowledge and cultural struggle are not taken into consideration, we will always be indebted to the people who most seek environmental well-being. The more I delve into the knowledge and practices of indigenous peoples, the more I understand how far the academy and the States are from giving response and manage comprehensive development projects that start from the very reality of its people and where they are participants and fundamental actors, and not only brought policies foreign to their worldview.

A transformed Honduras takes into account different forms of knowledge, is based on the struggle of the people who have historically carried the weight of an economic development that underestimates the most valuable thing we have, which are our natural resources and our different cultures, carries out concrete actions to improve the quality of life of all vulnerable groups, builds knowledge with and for its people and leaves no one behind.