Harsh Bhati reports from international environmental law practicum in Ecuador
Harsh Bhati is an international LLM student from India. He is in Ecuador with Prof. Lyman’s international environmental law practicum. Here is his report from a recent field trip:
“Our journey started in Cuenca in a 4X4 vehicle at 7 a.m. First few hours of our drive, we passed through picturesque villages, farms and towns. As we reached Quimsacocha, we started our three to four hour hike on the ancient Inca trail. The cold wind blew as we started ascending to the hills of quietness. We were surrounded by natural beauty everywhere and serenity of nature. We not only encountered several llamas, but also stunning wildflowers, rocks, and patches of highland grasses of different heights.
The highlight of the trip to Quimsacocha was Carlos Pérez Guartambel. Throughout the hike, he was guiding about the bio-diversity of the pristine Andean wetlands and how large scale mining projects are intruding into indigenous territories and exploiting natural resources including water. He is an indigenous leader and the president of Confederación de Pueblos de la Nacionalidad Kichwa del Ecuador – ECUARUNARI, an organisation whose main objective is to promote the rights of indigenous peoples in Ecuador.
We rested by a river of flowing crystal clear water at about 13000 ft. in Andes Mountain. Soon we participated in a small offering ceremony to the Pachamama (Mother Earth) conducted by Carlos. The main elements of the ceremonies (air, earth, water and fire) all direction of nature, the power of the universe, our ancestors and divine consciousness of love. We hiked back to the place where our cars were parked and then we headed to Casaloma to spend the night.
And at the end of the day our feet were dirty, our hair were messy and our eyes were sparkling.”