The link between environment and economy must be stronger to protect both. GAI helps students to learn sustainable business practices, preparing them for an evolving global economy.
Economic and Environmental Links
The 1990s was called the decade of interdependence. The adoption of NAFTA, the creation of the European community, and the success of other free-trade areas made it clear that the economies of nations are linked and interdependent. So, too, are the environments of nations. The air above Buffalo or El Paso can’t be safe to breathe if the air blowing from Toronto or Ciudad Juarez is polluted. Emissions of hazardous wastes, banned pesticides or greenhouse gases in one country can impact millions of people thousands of miles away.
The economic link binding national economies is clear–there is, after all, only one global economy. The environmental link between nations is also clear–we share environmental resources that recognize no national boundaries. However, there is a missing link: the link between environment and “best business practices.” The “eco-economy” will emerge through a commitment to sustainable development, adopting practices that do not depend on nonrenewable resources.
The Global Awareness Institute (GAI) was founded in 1997 to prepare the public for a global economy that is shifting toward renewable resources. All of our programs, workshops and projects focus on sustainable development, with emphasis on the use of renewable resources, particularly those found locally.
GAI is a non-profit, publicly supported organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Our Sustainable Purpose
GAI’s goals are to promote hemispheric cooperation and broader understanding of sustainable development by:
>Developing programs and projects to encourage students, institutions and the private sector to participate in joint international problem-solving ventures;
>Establishing and maintaining land and animal preserves in fragile areas of the world;
>Designing and supporting sustainable industries that encourage preservation of rainforests and the species they support by benefiting local communities.
GAI has three on going projects: GAI Selva, GAI Maya, and GAI Spirit–and is developing a number of other programs for introduction in the future.
“Selva” in Spanish means forest. GAI Selva is a 92-acre research institute and animal/ plant preserve located on the Amazon River in Peru. The facility hosts seminars, workshops and conferences; supports the planning and development of sustainable projects; and coordinates projects that benefit local economies.
A primary focus of the GAI Selva project is the development of medicinal plants and medicines as a sustainable industry. To that end, GAI works closely with local and national Peruvian research institutes; conducts work-shops, seminars, and conferences for students, faculty, and professionals in the field of Pharmacy; and conducts informational workshops on medicinal plants and natural medicine for the general public. It supports the creation of women’s cooperatives for the gardening and gathering of medicinal plants; maintains a network of local shamans and clinics that offer natural medicinal cures; and is striving to create the means by which medicinal plant products can be processed and marketed by local cooperatives.
In addition, the GAI Selva reserve houses an animal rescue center to protect species from abuse and extinction and a medicinal plant garden and plantation.
GAI Maya is the Institute’s newest project. It is a 54-acre preserve located in the heart of Western Belize. Its highly endangered status makes it a top priority for sustainable development. In addition to projects and facilities similar to those of GAI Selva, GAI Maya houses a residential geo-community, Iguana Creek, for its supporters.
GAI Spirit supports community self-help projects in Asia. Its core project, now completed, is the GKSHWP Gunung Kidul Self-Help Water Project in Indonesia.