Years ago, lifelong farmer and Zapotec Indigenous man Don Pedro found himself unable to afford the synthetic fertilizers he needed to continue growing crops in Mexico’s Oaxaca watershed. Although he never finished elementary school, a lack of formal education didn’t stop Don Pedro from filling every important position in his town, from topil (community policeman) in his youth to president municipal (mayor) of Huayapam—and it certainly didn’t stop him from farming.
Don Pedro turned to Climate Action Fund leader Instituto de la Naturaleza y la Sociedad de Oaxaca, A.C., which offers workshops on soil conservation and organic farming, to learn new techniques. He took these learnings far beyond the classroom, becoming a leader and mentor for other environmentalists—and one of the biggest organic tomato producers in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca.
Don Pedro just celebrated his 85th birthday with his huge and loving family, and he is still growing tomatoes.
Don Pedro with a harvest of organic tomatoes. Photo: Instituto de la Naturaleza y la Sociedad de Oaxaca, A.C.
Story by Milton López Tarabochia, Communications Coordinator
In the Peruvian Amazon, many farmers use slash-and-burn practices, an unsustainable way to quickly clear the forest to cultivate food. Leaders like Gimena, an Achuar Indigenous woman and a tourism student, are looking for a better way—and Climate Action Fund leader Instituto Chaikuni is ready to help them find it.
By providing education and other resources in rural Amazonian communities, Instituto Chaikuni is helping build environmentally friendly food systems called chacras integrales. These sustainable food systems, based on Indigenous knowledge and community wisdom, offer vital nutrition and medicines year round.
“What I like the most about chacras integrales is that they will be a great option to live in harmony with nature and the environment,” Gimena shared. “They also allow eating healthier, revaluing the biodiversity of the Loreto region, and having economic solvency.”
An Indigenous woman harvests beans in a chacra integral. Photo: Instituto Chaikuni
Faizal was born and raised in Mantanani Island, Sabah, Malaysia—an island that is known for its clear blue waters and biodiverse marine life. To protect his home’s natural treasure from the impacts of climate change and local threats like pollution and unsustainable tourism practices, Faizal joined community-based Climate Action Fund cohort member Reef Check Malaysia.
“The island we live on is our treasure, so we need to ensure its cleanliness and safety—not only for us but also for the environment,” he said.
Today, Faizal is helping run a waste management and recycling program, overseeing operations of a local community garden, and assisting in reef monitoring activities.
With dedication and hard work, Faizal has mobilized more people from the Mantanani community to join the movement to protect the island’s marine resources—and tackle the global crisis at the same time.
Faizal on Mantanani Island's blue waters. Photo: Reef Check Malaysia
Story by Aviram Rozin, Founder and Chairman, Kenya
For Naisherua, sustainable food means more than economic stability or a climate solution: It means freedom.
After her mother died, Naisherua faced mistreatment and neglect from her stepmother. Eventually, she had to drop out of school to support her new siblings. A few years later, Naisherua fled from her alcoholic husband, becoming the sole provider for her own growing family. Thankfully, she had an ally in her corner: Climate Action Fund leader Sadhana Forest. The organization works to combat climate change and build financial security in Samburu, Kenya by helping community members plant fruit-producing trees.
By working with Sadhana Forest, Naisherua has been able to plant a small food forest that provides reliable, nutritious food for her children. She’s also learned to use power tools and tackle home improvement projects, building self-confidence along the way.
Today, Naisherua is providing for herself, helping to support her younger siblings, and sending her children to school. She shared that her dream is to one day have her own home—and that Sadhana Forest has made her feel, for the first time, that her dream is possible.
Story by Barbara Vallarino, Executive Director, Brazil
Don Juan lives and farms in northern Guatemala, where he raises cardamom, mahogany, and other crops.
For years, he and his neighbors have used slash-and-burn agricultural methods—that is, until Climate Action Fund member EcoLogic introduced agroforestry. Agroforestry, or planting food-producing trees, helps make farming less damaging to the soil and ecosystem—and easier for the farmers.
Today, Don Juan can tell that agroforestry is making a difference.
“Thanks to the techniques for reforestation, I am seeing the results, and this is working well,” he said. “I am seeing healthy cardamom plants and mahogany trees.”
Don Juan stands in his agroforest. Photo: EcoLogic
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