“Tomorrowland” — scrawled on one of those concrete seating areas near the top of the steps leading up from La Banda to Tarapoto.
So which is it?
The land of tomorrow, a place of promise, a place with a positive and bright future, where everything is possible?
Or, as the trash-strewn bank would suggest, a place where things linger and lag, a place where nothing gets done, where officials pay no heed and where citizens happily dump their rubbish on the grass?
The distinctions of time and place in the Latin American context are very interesting and provocative topics in my “estadounidense” view so thanks for posting this photo! I think I’m pretty familiar with this place as well so I would venture to say that it also suffers from another type of pollution that is generally much better contained where I come from (the noise!). So yes, I think it is somewhat difficult to see Tarapoto and other cities like it as being local, regional, national, or international centers of “promise” until there is a concerted effort to close out persistent conservation/sustainability gaps.
Hi Mike. Yeah, noise pollution is definitely a big issue here, along with the dumping of trash. I guess both are pretty reflective of more deeply rooted problems. From what I can tell, there seems to be a major failure in the primary and secondary education systems here in terms of teaching about conservation, pollution etc. I’d like to say things are getting better there, but I’m not sure about that…
(by the way, let me know if you ever want to write something about Motos for Fonos in Tarapoto — http://www.motosforfonos.org/)
You hit it on the head with the last comment, there is a general lack of education in Peru.
The concept of a long term future or a self sustaining future seems not to exist here.This does not mean the people here are stupid far from it, but they seem to lack the ability to grasp that what they destroy or contaminate today will kill them or their family tomorrow.
I remember when I first moved here living at Ramon Castillo, as soon as it would rain all the people would rush out and drop their bags of trash in the ditch to dispose of it. Not caring who it might effect or the damage it causes to everyone down stream.
The slash and burn and crop rotation of our fragile forest only works if large swaths of land are owned, and so the small farmer is slowly sterilizing and depleting his land into non production. Not to mention the native forest is almost completely gone never to return and with it many species that through our lack of understanding is critical to the natural ecosystem.
You know I work in Iraq, and it sadly is the same here. People with no regard for their children’s future or health, dumping trash everywhere never thinking for a minute that they will soon drown in their own waste.
Sad to say I do not see a good sustainable future for Tarapoto, because like most humans, they put off for tomorrow what they should be correcting today.
I will not be surprised if one day comes were you cannot see the writing Tomorrow Land because the trash pile is too high to read it.
Those of us that know better are obligated to make an extra effort to get people to think about a future for their children. We are all interconnected to this ecosystem,
just as our fingers are connected to our bodies. Cut it off and the whole is effected.
Thanks Chris, interesting comments.
Those are fascinating and thought provoking comments. I remember Tarapoto quite vividly the way it was in the 1970s when I first went there. At that time, the town had only about 30000 inhabitants, almost no paved roads, no electrical power after 9:00 PM except for that provided by privately owned generators, no roads leading to the coast, and a tiny airport terminal that was little more than a small room with four walls. At that time, Tarapoto also had no television service and was pretty much isolated from the outside world. Yet, it had a wonderful provincial charm that was exceedingly appealing to any gringo visiting from a big city in the USA such as myself. Boy have times changed.! Now, neighborng Lamas is a an approximation to the way Tarapoto was in the past and Tarapoto is quickly taking on many of the sad characteristics of large urban communities with all of their associated problems. Tarapoto, in my humble opinion, still is a great place to live in, but that may not be the case for long unless it’s municipal leaders act intelligently and comprehensively to put a bridle on the rapid changes overtaking the city.
I still think Tarapoto is a great place to live — and it’s still a clean and relatively organized city compared to many in Peru. And certain aspects of the city’s future are quite bright.
But it’s a real shame about the trash issue. When I was a kid in the UK, I remember seeing anti-littering campaigns on TV, which were aimed at children. I think they were quite effective. It would be nice to see local authorities do something like that, or at least more posters about littering. Hell, you can walk 15 blocks in Tarapoto without seeing a communal street bin. That’s just crazy.
When I’m mayor of Tarapoto, I’m gonna clean up this place….!
I’LL be in Tarapoto soon
I’LL Be Your campaign manager
That’s a great idea Tony, and a successful anti litter campaign would help immensely to make Tarapoto a better place to live. Maybe you could spearhead such a campaign and make it as popular as kids marching around Tarapoto in costumes.