Vitória da Riva Carvalho

Ashoka Fellow
Alta Floresta, Mato Grosso, Brazil
Fellow Since 2011


This profile was prepared when Vitória da Riva Carvalho was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2011.
The New Idea
In order to address the Amazon forests destruction resulting from aggressive mining and livestock agriculture, Vitória created an ecologically and economically sustainable endeavor. She is introducing to the region a new and necessary paradigm that ensures biodiversity and development. The Cristalino Jungle Lodge (CJL) and the Cristalino Ecological Foundation (CEF) are nimble organizations that, together, serve the three-fold purpose of creating national parks, supporting research and environmental education, and generating revenue through low-impact tourism.

By launching a new tourism route in the Amazon’s most deforested area, Vitória is introducing viable options for local sustainable development. Beyond simply creating employment alternatives for ex-miners, the CJL is fostering the local production of organic food and bringing value to the region by offering high-quality services to its clients. It does all of this while adhering to strict principles of low-impact tourism. The profits made through the CJL are reinvested into the maintenance of the conservation areas as well as the CEF’s educational projects.

The CEF was created to establish cutting-edge environmental research and literacy programs. In partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens of England, more than 1,370 plant species have been catalogued and nine new species were discovered. Vitória began these projects knowing that conservation units and economic incentives for the sustainable use of natural resources would not be sufficient to stop or slow down the area’s alarming rate of deforestation. Her educational initiatives target children, youth and forest communities, as well as public servants who need to learn about the region’s potential in order to become committed to and respectful of biodiversity. Most importantly, Vitória has become the catalyst for bringing dozens of citizen organizations (COs) and businesses to the region by showing that sustainable businesses and preservation of biodiversity can live together.

As a result of her dedication to conservation and well-earned credibility, Vitória has played a central role in the creation of the Cristalino State Park. The park will be integrated into the Southern Amazonian ecological corridor, thus turning her initiative into a successful example to follow for the new Amazonian economy. Vitória’s near goal is to double the number of students that attend the CEF’s educational activities, implement permaculture and wellspring recovery projects in eleven of the park’s settlements, and transform the city of Alta Floresta into a model for biodiversity in the region.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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