A bit more than a year ago, our team decided to go ahead and tell a story about bananas. Having shared with you our faith in the power of storytelling in the past, no more explanation is needed to describe our enthusiasm going into the production phase of our project approximately a month ago.
So there we were: seven individuals from seven different places around the world and carrying seven different stories, meeting again at San Jose International Airport in Costa Rica. All of us ready to sit and listen to people involved in the story of bananas as we know them, and aiming to discover a picture of their future.
After my 2 weeks stay in Costa Rica, I learned much more than I could have imagined. We heard stories from local people in the banana production business that are trying to change the common production practices towards a better environmental and social impact, teachers aiming to transfer a different agricultural mindset of production to the next generation, and young students from all around the world, determined to protect the environment as soon as they are ready to make their own agricultural decisions.
Small producers accepted us in their fincas and shared their histories; the everyday struggles needed to be self-sustained, the difficulties of going away from conventional agriculture methods, and their fears and concerns about the future. Indigenous producers shared with us the wisdom that their people carried through decades of agricultural practices that go hand-in hand with biodiversity. And we learned that it is possible to provide enough food to people while respecting the other forms of life around us.
But apart from human voices, in the lands of these small producers, we also heard the unspoken stories of nature. We listened to the beautiful songs of birds of all different colors and shapes; voices that are silenced when you go closer to fields of banana monocultures own by large companies. We heard the rain on the leaves and flowers of many different plant species surrounding a banana 'tree', from cacao and palm trees to orchids of all sizes. And we heard the small slithering of a gecko or a millipede on the full of decomposing biomass ground below these plants, which is getting replaced by wet mud at large fields filled with thousands of bananas, planted as close as possible to each other in order to increase the tones of production of the big corporations. And of course we heard the loud symphonies of the cicadas that were giving us headaches every early morning in the field.
Each one of us found in these stories a truth about our responsibilities as consumers and the well-hidden effects of our small everyday practices on nature. Going back to Europe, these stories are well-kept in my head, and I don't think they are going to leave me in peace soon. Because it should never be forgotten; with small individual changes, the big trend at the global level will sooner or later emerge, and we may be able to save something important.
A big thank you to all of you that stand by our sides and are willing to change with us for nature.
And another thanks to all of you that are not convinced yet, for giving us a challenge to achieve.
Our banana story is gradually becoming a reality.
After a masters degree in ecological programming, Marina still remains enthusiastic about biology and in love with anything that has to do with nature. Her interest for conservation was born on the Greek islands, while protecting sea turtles from drunk tourists. Bananageddon is an ideal opportunity to get away from her beloved computer and contribute to a great cause, while combining her past working experience as a photographer, her passion for cinema and her conservation consciousness. She wants to experience the problems of the workers on banana plantations and try to spread their story to the rest of the world. Apart from biology, Marina loves music, books, fencing, coffee shops and nerdy programming jokes.