Pure Water

Los Cedros Reserve – Andean cloud forest of Ecuador – UNDER THREAT

Our friend Nicola Peel has sent us an update and some incredible photos from her visit to the Los Cedros Reserve in the cloud forest of Ecuador which is now threatened by gold, copper and molybdenum mining.

Nicola is one of the inspirations behind us and with Carrie set up the Southeast climate alliance.


“Here I am stuck in Ecuador , my flights have been cancelled.

I had just finished my work in the Amazon and returned to Quito to have a couple of weeks to visit and travel when I heard the news, the following day all buses were to stop, no shops, schools, restaurants could open. Total quarantine for 2 weeks or 2 months??? All borders are closed.

So….. I ran for the hills….the Los Cedros Reserve… what a place.. one of the most biodiverse cloudforests on earth.

2 hours walk with mules carrying everything from the nearest dirt track.

I had planned to come here to write a report for John Seed, the great ecologist who reminds us to think like a mountain. He was the person who first sent me to Ecuador 20 years ago. I wrote to him to thank him for all he had done for the deep ecology movement. I reminded him of all I have done in the last 20 years here and thanked him for this.

I asked if there was anything I could do for him as it was to be my last trip…. He asked me to come to Los Cedros and write a report.

This 15,000 acre primary forest is home to pumas, spectacled  bears, toucans and more birds, butterflys and orchids that you can imagine. Last night I counted 29 different species of moths around the lights… wow huge ones, brightly covered ones, hairy ones… the diversity was incredible. They told me this was nothing. Wait for after the rain and you will see so many more.

Yesterday I trekked all day out to a giant waterfall, where the water is so pure you can drink it whilst swimming.

This is a scientific research station and National Geographic came last year with 20 scientists to study the diversity.

Trouble is gold has been found in the belly of this mountain…. and copper and molybdenum… and a mining concession has been granted by the government…. so the fight is on to protect one of the last true islands of life.

I have no idea how long I will stay in this paradise. Whilst I hear of stories from the other world.. a virus sweeping the planet life here is like it has always been.

What a blessing for me to have landed in this place. I send my love to you from this extraordinary place and hope in some way I can connect you all with the magic of Nature.

and  a few words sent to me….


Yes there is fear.

Yes there is isolation.

Yes there is panic buying.

Yes there is sickness.

Yes there is even death.




They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise

You can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet

The sky is no longer thick with fumes

But blue and grey and clear.


They say that in the streets of Assisi

People are singing to each other

across the empty squares,

keeping their windows open

so that those who are alone

may hear the sounds of family around them.


They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland

Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know

is busy spreading fliers with her number

through the neighbourhood

So that the elders may have someone to call on.


Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples

are preparing to welcome

and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary


All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting

All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.

To how little control we really have.

To what really matters.

To Love.


Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM

March 13th 2020


Los Cedros is a non-profit biological reserve in the Andean cloud forest of Ecuador

It is a forests and wildlife reserve that was founded in 1988 with the purchace of the first land holding.  This was made possible with the help of nemerous individuals and organizations.  We would like to thank Christof Schroeder and friends, Retten den Regenwald, Flor del Bosque,  Friends of the Earth Sweden and especially the Rainforest Infromation Center of Australia.   Throughout the years we have counted on RIC for the ongoing support of the ongoing efforts to conserve this biological treasure.

Los Cedros Biological Reserve consists of 17,000 acres of premontane wet tropical forest and cloud forest. Of this, 2,650 acres is formerly colonized land, while the remainder is primary forest. The reserve is a southern buffer zone for the 450,000 acre Cotocachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve, and both are part of the Choco Phytogeographical Zone. The Choco region is one of the most biologically diverse and endemic habitats on Earth.

Learn about how Nicola was supporting children in taking their government to court over the right to clean air and water here https://www.sussexgreenliving.org.uk/uk-environmentalist-raises-the-alarm-to-support-childrens-right-to-fresh-air/.