Fellow Since 1996
FUNDACION ARCO IRIS
This profile was prepared when Fausto López was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1996.
The New Idea
A brilliant environmental educator, Fausto López had the seminal insight that if society could see the link between Ecuador's chronic water shortages and environmental conservation, then it might be possible to dramatically strengthen national environmental protection efforts. Building on that insight, Fausto devised and implemented a series of environmental education activities and environmental action campaigns in his home region in southern Ecuador that succeeded in reversing patterns of harmful economic exploitation in the area's great watershed–the Podocarpus National Park. The fact that this watershed was already designated a national park was in itself insufficient to stop widespread mining, road building and other economic activity that was devastating the fragile ecology of this relatively small area of globally-significant biodiversity. Despite its small size, for example, Podocarpus has over 700 species of birds that live in or pass through its magnificent forests.Fausto is now consolidating his activities around Podocarpus while beginning to export his methods throughout Ecuador and the wider Andean region.