Citizen Action Monitor

Looking for an opportunity to make a difference as a global citizen? — The Pachamama Alliance may be for you

Pachamama’s engagement experience is designed to awaken, educate, and connect a critical mass of “pro-activist” leaders

No 1324 Posted by fw, May 4, 2015

Discover how a small group of visionaries from the US transformed a commitment to help indigenous people from deep in the Amazon rainforest into the Pachamama Alliance, an organization that would “change the dream of the modern world”—shifting our culture of overconsumption to one that honors and sustains life. If you want to take your citizen activism to a new level, visit the Pachamama Alliance website, a veritable treasure trove of information relating to the Alliance’s amazing journey. Although the Alliance is US-based, it offers online training workshops to supplement its face-to-face gatherings held in venues in all parts of the country. Check the website for workshop dates and locations as well as access to the online materials.

The following introduction to Pachamama is excerpted from the website, along with a selection of 3 short You Tube videos at the end of this post.


The Pachamama story begins here with a backgrounder on the indigenous Achuar people

Deep in the Amazon rainforest, spanning the borders of modern-day Ecuador and Peru, the Achuar people have lived and thrived for centuries.

Achuar People

Achuar People

Traditionally warriors with a fierce devotion to their land, they kept their sophisticated culture and worldview remarkably intact as late as the mid-20th century.

In Achuar culture, dreams are a guiding principle of life, shared each morning before sunrise. Shamans play an important role in the spiritual life of Achuar communities, including the interpretation of dreams.

But not all dreams are sweet. Dreams can often require facing and transforming that which you most fear.

Since the early 20th century, individuals and corporations from the so-called “modern” world have sought to exploit Achuar land for its oil, disregarding its irreplaceable ecological and cultural wealth.

By the early 1990s, Achuar shamans and elders were having dreams of an imminent threat to their land and traditional way of life.

From contact with neighboring tribes, the Achuar knew that oil companies were poisoning the rainforest and everything alive in it, steadily moving closer and closer to their home.

The Achuar were also influenced by their understanding of an ancient prophecy about the Eagle and the Condor, shared by many Andean and Amazonian indigenous cultures.

According to this prophecy, humanity is at a moment in history when the Eagle – representing intellect and the mind – and the Condor – representing wisdom and the heart – must come together to ensure the continued existence of humankind.

Emboldened by this prophecy and their warrior history, the Achuar made the courageous decision to reach out to the modern world that was threatening their very existence.

Bill Twist

Bill Twist

In 1995, in response to an invitation from the Achuar leaders, a group of people “from the North” — including John Perkins, and Bill and Lynne Twist — traveled deep into the Amazon.

The Achuar committed to maintaining their expert stewardship of the rainforest, taking a stand to preserve this invaluable resource on behalf of all life. They refuse to let humanity destroy itself.

The group from the North – which became the Pachamama Alliance — supported the Achuar in gaining full title to nearly 1.8 million acres of rainforest. Based on this success, Pachamama expanded to work with other indigenous groups in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Brazil and Bolivia.

The Pachamama Alliance commits to an “extraordinary” request from the Achuar

The Achuar shared with this group the urgent threat to their lands and culture, their vision for self-determination, and a request for allies from the North who would “change the dream of the modern world”—shifting our culture of overconsumption to one that honors and sustains life.

The birth of the Pachamama Alliance

Lynne Twist

Lynne Twist

This group committed to a partnership with the Achuar, and, upon their return to the United States, Bill Twist and Lynne Twist co-founded the Pachamama Alliance to carry out their commitment.

With its wealth of natural resources, including minerals, metals, lumber and oil, Ecuador had been a highly coveted colony since at least the mid-16th century.

By the time the Pachamama Alliance was founded, Ecuador was still not completely in control of its own wealth. Policies of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank kept Ecuador caught in a debt cycle fueled by the oil demands of industrialized countries.

The need to change the “dream of the modern world”, a dysfunctional dream that was threatening all of humanity

In the face of these economic and political pressures, merely halting individual instances of oil development was a never-ending battle. The founders of the Pachamama Alliance recognized they needed to get to the root of the problem. The realities of oil development underscored the importance of “changing the dream of the modern world” if they wanted to fulfill their commitment to the Achuar.

They began to bring other people from the modern world to the rainforest. Pachamama Journeys began in 1996, offering a direct experience of Achuar wisdom and the Pachamama Alliance’s vision.

These journeys also supported eco-tourism projects in Achuar territory, creating economic alternatives beyond selling land to oil companies.

Since 1997 the Pachamama Alliance has worked in solidarity with indigenous organizations of Ecuador’s Amazon to defend their rights and homeland.

Initial efforts provided legal and technical expertise to strengthen indigenous self-governance and preserve their lands and cultures, including mapping, land titling, and sustainable economic development.

While Pachamama Journeys and the work in Ecuador were a profound success, inquiries were continued for many years into how to make a widespread impact to “change the dream”

The Awakening Dream Symposium launched in 2005

In 2005, the Alliance launched a suite of transformative learning workshops with the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium.

People gather at Symposiums around the world to discover the value of ancient wisdom in addressing our modern crises and their personal role in bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just human presence on this planet.

These face-to-face Symposiums have been held in at least 78 countries in 13 languages, with more than 4,000 volunteers offering the content in homes, churches, businesses, community centers, and government agencies.

DVD and online versions introduced in 2011

In late 2011, the reach of the Symposium was expanded through a partnership with the sustainable lifestyle company, Gaiam, to offer DVD and online versions.

Transformative Up to Us educational engagement pathway launched in 2013

In late 2013, launched the next era of educational work was launched with the Up to Us engagement pathway—a transformative educational pathway for people to develop themselves as leaders of social action in the world. Up to Us unleashes our power as global citizens by inspiring and educating us to collectively strike at the root of the challenges that stand in the way of a just, sustainable, and fulfilling future for all.

As their allies, Pachamama continues to innovate education and advocacy initiatives in Ecuador and around the world.

This engagement pathway is designed to awaken, educate, connect and engage a critical mass of “pro-activist” leaders committed to bringing forth a thriving, just and sustainable world. The pathway has various steps:

  • Awakening the Dreamer Symposium – A half-day transformative, educational, awakening workshop. Thanks to more than 4500 trained volunteer Facilitators, the Symposium now has been presented in 82 countries worldwide. Provides a great foundation.
  • Game Changer Intensive – This new online course was piloted to more than 830 people. Picking up where the Symposium leaves off, the Intensive catalyzes the inner work of transformation and inspires and equips people to engage in effective collective action.
  • Communities – These provide a structure and an opportunity for people to connect with like-minded people at the local level, to continue to learn together about the key social and ecological concerns of the day, and to engage and work together on local, national and global issues.
  • Movement Partners – We supported two key game-changing movements aimed at addressing the root causes of the most pressing issues today in the United States: our unrepresentative Democracy and Climate Change. We partner with organizations that are central players in building these movements and that guide people to get involved at the grass-roots level through their local chapters.

3 Related Videos

  • Protecting the Source, Inspiring the Future: The Story of Pachamama Alliance, Published on Dec 10, 2014 (9:20 minutes)


  • Pachamama Alliance- “A New Dream” Uploaded on May 5, 2010The story of The Pachamama Alliance in both the North and the South inspiring a “New Dream” for our vision of the world to come. (7:16 minutes)


  • Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream Uploaded on Aug 9, 2008 — This is a trailer for the Awakening the Dreamer symposium, a presentation being offered around the USA, the UK, Europe and elsewhere. Visit for more info. (7:07 minutes)


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