Speaking for the Rainforest

Surui ChiefAmong the speakers at the opening sessions of this morning’s Bioneers conference, perhaps the one that moved me most was by Chief Almir Narayamoga Surui, chief of the Surui (pronounced suhr’ ye) tribe of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.

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One woman's passion creates miracles

Lily YehIf you’ve never heard of Lily Yeh, you’ve missed out on something amazing. This humble lovely Chinese woman has courage and passion and is taking it to the darkest, most destitute areas to create breathtaking art.

“I’m sharing a private journey made public,” she quietly said at the Bioneers conference.

The darkest place is a light for transformation, Yeh said.  From a blighted Philadelphia neighborhood, in the midst of poverty and gangs, she went to a lot with a broken, abandoned building, drew a circle around herself with a scrap of glass she picked up from the ground, then waited for people to show up. When they came to find out what this crazy woman was doing, she got them involved in creating what turned out to be an amazing place of beauty, meditation and retreat. With the help of neighborhood children of all ages and abandoned people like drug addicts who have since given up their habit, she took an abandoned space and transformed it.

“It’s a celebration of life and beauty,” she passionately said.

The more she spoke, the more excited and passsionate she became. She was riveting.

Yeh sees her role being “to light other people’s pilot light so we can shine into the future.” She brings beauty to the destitute.

When talking about her travels to Rwanda, Yeh said “we all are broken in one way or another. Together we create our future.”

Yeh is positively uplifting, in every sense of those words. As she says, her weaknesses become her strength. This is a lesson we can all learn, then take into the world to make a difference.