Ideas & Insights / All Perspectives / Ideas & Insights

For a Sustainable Bolivia

Six steps toward environmental preservation

By Luis Suarez Amoretti, Electrical Engineer, Bolivia

Luis Suarez Amoretti on a bridge in La Asunta, Bolivia in an area where he and his team are bringing electricification. (Photo Courtesy of Luis Suarez Amoretti)

In my job as a Bolivian electrical engineer, I help bring electricity to rural areas that have never before been able to switch on a light or plug in refrigerator or a cellphone.

I am currently working for Bolivia’s National Electricity Company (ENDE) and with the Inter-American Development Bank on projects supported by The Rockefeller Foundation.

  • Amoretti's plans for a sustainable community (Photo Courtesy of Luis Suarez Amoretti)

Amoretti’s plans for a sustainable community. (Photo Courtesy of Luis Suarez Amoretti)

In my professional and my personal life, I think a lot about the urgent need to shift away from a predator development paradigm to a sustainable one in order to fight climate change.

Reading An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore inspired me to develop “Villa Ecológica Ericka,” a pilot project to create ecological homes.

The goal is to create a community that can produce its own energy, manage its waste, and optimize the use of natural resources.

Some of the sustainable components in “Villa Ecológica Ericka” include reusable water and the collection of rainfall, solar-generating panels, a solar water-heating system, an urban orchard in common space growing fruits and vegetables, and a compost.

Luis Suarez Amoretti on a bridge in La Asunta, Bolivia in an area where he and his team are bringing electrification. (Photo Courtesy of Luis Suarez Amoretti)

The first home was built in the central Bolivian town of Tiquipaya, about 6 miles (10 kilometers) outside the city of Cochabamba.

Developing this project helped form my thinking about what is needed for sustainable development that both improves human life and preserves our planet.

About 29 percent of Bolivia’s population of 12.5 million lives in rural areas, and our policymakers need to focus on its rural populations with a national plan in the ways suggested below.

  • A street vendor during the morning rush in La Paz, Bolivia (Photo Credit Masha Hamilton)
    A street vendor during the morning rush in La Paz, Bolivia. (Photo Credit Masha Hamilton)

Six Areas for Sustainable Planning

  • An organic polyfarming revolution should be developed in rural areas to produce organic food in greenhouses using regenerative practices enhanced by technological advances to get the most yield from native plants in the smallest area. This involves combining technology with ancient knowledge.
  • A national plan for sustainable reforestation should be established using tree species suitable to different types of Bolivian climate and land.
  • Rural-based industries suitable to Bolivia should be developed, including textiles made from camelids, fish-breeding, beekeeping, and local organic food enterprises.
  • Ecotourism should be encouraged, in part by adding infrastructure to rural communities that encourage nature-friendly visitors.
  • A project should be launched to increase education around preparation of preventative medicine using herbs grown in South America.
  • Indigenous and local culture should be preserved and shared more widely, including in schools and in events for tourists.

Every citizen in Bolivia – and the globe – must contribute to make sure we halt pollution and the overexploitation of natural resources that threaten to lead to the systemic destruction of our planet. At the same time, we must shift to renewable energy sources so we can preserve our sweet water, trees and biodiversity.

Let’s reimagine our society. Let’s shift from an emphasis on collecting consumer goods to one that centers on creating an environmentally sustainable society, for the sake of our children and the generations to come.

More in this Matter of Impact Edition

previous story

Embracing Forest Cuisine, Fire-Proofing the Amazon, and More

Sixteen Big Bet Climate Fellows from Latin America show the Global South is not just a hotspot for climate change challenges, but a powerhouse for innovative solutions.

read more
full edition

From the Andes to the Amazon, Latin America’s Climate Frontlines

This quarter's online magazine spotlights Latin America, where innovators and local communities are spearheading the climate change fight.

read more