California-based NGO Assists Central American Women with Projects To Reduce Climate Change

Clinton Global Initiative Honors Announces Their "Commitment" by Honoring Dr Sarah Otterstrom

Sep 24, 2009, 10:33 ET from Paso Pacifico

NEW YORK, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- While U.N. members debate targets for greenhouse gas emissions, Dr. Sarah Otterstrom is taking action to reforest Central America, a key component in the fight to combat global climate change. Dr. Otterstrom, the founder and Executive Director of Paso Pacifico, is being honored by the Clinton Global Initiative, which is convening in conjunction with the U.N. General Assembly in New York this week.

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Nobel Peace Laureate, Mohammad Yunus, presented Dr. Otterstrom with a Commitment Certificate for Paso Pacifico's unique initiative to involve women at the grass-roots level in efforts to combat climate change. Paso Pacifico is a California-based NGO that provides teaching and training in conservation and sustainable business to indigenous people, fights the illegal trafficking of endangered species, and conducts wide ranging conservation projects.

"Women have been overlooked in the global debate on how we reduce greenhouse gases. In Nicaragua, we are training local women to manage tree nurseries specifically created to serve reforestation efforts. They carefully tend delicate seedlings and bring a nuanced understanding light and soil requirements of many rare tropical tree species," Dr. Otterstrom explained.

Rural Central American women, who traditionally have been excluded from local entrepreneurship, are earning sustainable incomes by establishing and running native tropical tree nurseries. Paso Pacifico provides forestry and entrepreneurial training to help establish viable businesses that supply the region with vital and biologically diverse tree seedlings.

Paso Pacifico also gained recognition for another innovative project -- which is more closely associated with American inner cities than rural Central America -- weapons exchange. In this case it's not guns that are exchanged for tickets to sporting events or Hip Hop concerts, but sling shots -- used by young Central Americans to shoot endangered parrots -- being exchanged for binoculars and training in species preservation. Paso Pacifico is the sponsor of the so-called "Sling Shot Girls" of the Paso del Istmo region, young women who are also being featured at the Clinton Global Initiative this week.

Paso Pacifico is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Ventura, California that works to protect Central America's Pacific slope ecosystems. Paso Pacifico is led by Dr. Sarah Otterstrom, a conservation scientist with over fifteen years of conservation work in Nicaragua. For more information, visit

SOURCE Paso Pacifico