It's the age old question, "what's in it for me?" Something we all ask (on some level) when presented with an opportunity to contribute to a cause bigger than us. But in this case, why would you even consider donating your precious resources (money) to a cause such as protecting and saving native strains of cacao?
Let's start with what's happening with cacao on a global level. As you likely already know, cacao is the fundamental and first ingredient in any chocolate product. There's a lot of chocolate circulating the planet, which means there is also a need for a lot of cacao trees growing, pods being harvested, beans being extracted, fermented, dried, and shipped all over the world. This process is time and labor intensive, and requires a lot of tropical habitat/real estate.
Year in and year out the demand for cacao outweighs the supply (and this gap is only expected to widen with the demand increasing at least 3% each year). This means more pressure on farms to produce higher, more productive yields each year. Ok, sounds easy right? Wrong. Naturally, cacao trees are already up against a battle of their own; drought, fungal disease, dwindling habitat, soil exhaustion...Not to mention farmers being underfunded, understaffed, and without the necessary equipment.
In response to these challenges, scientists have modified the cacao plant, creating hybrids and clones to make it more resistant to drought and disease. These hybrids/clones typically produce more pods and more beans of greater size than native cacao. Also backed by financial incentives, farmers over time have been encouraged to grow these modified strains instead of the native ones. This has encouraged the growth of cacao in nonnative environments like Africa, where over 70% of the world's cacao is sourced. So what does all of this mean for native cacao?
Well, extinction, if we don't do anything about it. But before I get all doom and gloom on you, we should explore why we should even consider protecting these native cacao varieties in the first place.
1. Native cacao is a plant medicine.
- What do I mean by this? Native ceremonial cacao is a powerful heart opener that was gifted to us by Mother Earth. Anyone that consumes native ceremonial cacao will assure you it works in magical ways to pull us out of our heads and into our hearts. She (yes, the spirit of cacao) teaches us to FEEL; to feel on behalf of our own experience (what happens to us), to feel on behalf of the collective (what's happening with all people on the planet), and to feel on behalf of Earth (pretty self-explanatory).
Indigenous myth recounts how whenever the balance between humans and nature becomes threatened, cacao leaves the rainforest to open people's hearts and return the planet to harmony. And that is exactly what's happening on the planet right now. We have lost our way, disconnected from nature and the natural order, and are now the greatest threat to our very own home, Earth. Native cacao is leaving the rainforest through entities like KAKAO (and many others) to awaken the hearts of humanity and restore balance between humans and nature.
2. This is bigger than cacao.
- What's happening with cacao right now is the perfect representation for what's happening with nearly every plant humans consume for food. We are genetically modifying foods to resist droughts, disease, and drugs, all while subsequently destroying biodiversity, natural habitats, and severely depleting our soils of vital, life giving nutrients. And all of this is happening BEFORE these foods are processed into remnants of their original selves. It's no wonder such a large majority of the human population is unwell.
Mother Earth is begging us to wake up. She's begging us to remember that we're one with her, which includes all the plants and animals present on Earth. She's asking us to care for her the way she's has always cared for us, unconditionally. By protecting cacao and saving these native species, we can set an example for all the other plants (and animals) that need protecting. We can prove it can be done, and that all that's required is for us to FEEL and own our intimate connection to Mother Earth.
3. We have to start somewhere.
- With all this troubling information, it's can be easy to focus on how "bad" things are and feel like, "what's the point in evening trying?" But here's the thing, Mother Earth is pulling for us to win. She, and many other supportive forces, is behind us 100%. She wants us to win, because it's in all of our best interests, including hers. And every day she is inspiring individuals to new ideas that once implemented will quickly change our situation and life on Earth. KAKAO is very much one of those inspirations.
So what's in it for you? You get to be on the leading edge of our return to innocence, of our return home, of our return to our mother, Earth. Your contribution will stand as a vibrational communication to Mother Earth that you're in on the movement, that you've heard her communication loud and clear, and that you're aligned with circulating resources in a way that best contributes to her. You get to say "no more" to genetic modifications, the manipulation of plants and animals, and the further degradation of our planet. However small cacao may seem in all of this, I assure it's a vital piece of where we're all going. It's an invitation back into our hearts and back into union with Earth. It's the beginning of where we always knew we would return to.
If you're inspired by what you've read here, here is one powerful way in which you can contribute:
There are also many other nonprofits like ours working to protect our planet. Find them, and contribute to them as well. Together, with the help of this sacred plant medicine, we will heal ourselves and the planet!