FEBRUARY 23, 2022

Amazon Aid Foundation’s first Cleaner Gold Network Summit of 2022 was held on February 23, honoring the immutable legacy of the late Dr. Thomas Lovejoy (b. 1941 – d. 2021), defender of the Amazon, esteemed ecologist, devoted teacher, and a friend and advisor to Amazon Aid. The heartfelt summit showcased a live violin performance by renowned musician, Bartu Elci-Ozsoy; an interview with scientist and friend of Dr. Lovejoy, Adrian Forsyth; and an array of ways to contribute ideas and direction to protect the Amazon.


Watch Sarah’s Tribute

Sarah DuPont, founder of the Amazon Aid Foundation, expressed the impact Dr.Thomas Lovejoy had on her life and on her continuous commitment to preserve the Amazon rainforest. “What Tom taught me was whether you are an accoladed and publicly respected figure or someone who has lived outside of a spotlight, what you do and how you do it can have a deep impact on others,” she said. “Even a chance encounter or a brief exchange may spark a world-changing idea, encourage another to follow their passion, or allow someone to see a different perspective.” She remembers Dr. Lovejoy as an immensely accomplished person, whose dedication to understanding the world around us informed and transformed numerous schools of thought and she voiced how fortunate she was to work with him on several different occasions, including Amazon Aid Foundation’s award-winning documentary, “River of Gold.” “Tom brought many together in a common purpose, in this case to protect and save the Amazon, he harnessed his individual passions and talents for the sake of something bigger than himself. We now all stand on the shoulders of this lovely giant, Dr. Thomas Lovejoy, so now let’s all work together in his honor and for our planet and future,” shares DuPont.


Watch Bartu Elci-Ozsoy’s performance

Virtuoso violinist, composer and conductor, Bartu Elci-Ozsoy, played the last movement (Melody) from Tchaikovsky’s “Souvenir d’un Lieu Cher’ (Remembrance of a dear place) in honor and remembrance of Dr. Thomas Lovejoy as DuPont welcomed comments in the chat to reflect upon his humanity, his generosity and his legacy.


Watch Adrian Forsyth’s interview with Charles Lyons

Adrian Forsyth, founder and former Executive Director of Andes Amazon Fund, described moments of his life he had the pleasure of sharing with Dr. Lovejoy. Forsyth, who now serves as the Strategic Advisor for the Andes Amazon Fund, has carried out fieldwork and conservation in some of the most remote regions of the world. Author of nine natural history books, Forsyth has developed five biological field stations in the Amazon and in Central America. He currently serves as President of the board of the Amazon Conservation Association and is the Board Chairman of Osa Conservation. He knew Dr. Lovejoy for a long time and recalls the beginning of their friendship through a trip to Indonesian Borneo. It was the first time Forsyth got a true feel of Dr. Lovejoy’s attitude towards life and how he approached conservation. “He faced the odds with a kind of happy optimism, which is the key to, I think, doing this kind of work,” Forsyth comments. He went on to explain his favorite memories of Dr. Lovejoy through their many travels and what he believed was Tom’s reason for spending so much of his life dedicated to preserving the Amazon. “Tom was driven by his passion for things that are alive and I think that’s what made him not become an academic…from a very early time I think he decided mindfully I’m gonna use my science and my knowledge to save nature, not just study it,” says Forsyth. Dr. Lovejoy was known for bringing people together and for building alliances for conservation action. Forsyth recounts his legacy as, aside from his conservation impact, the thousands of people he lended a hand to and inspired along the way. “I just want everyone who knew him to know he died a happy man. He was fulfilled in his life and that is what allows you to die a happy person. I would like people to know that Tom didn’t leave this world in some kind of tragic way. He left in a glorious way,” shares Forsyth.

The legacy of Dr. Thomas Lovejoy appears to live on throughout the numerous lives he impacted and inspired during his time educating and combating the preservation of the Amazon. Dr. Lovejoy helped shape policy aimed at conservation, fostered collaborations through organizations, made groundbreaking discoveries, and imparted wonder in students and colleagues alike – that will live on for years to come. He will be remembered as an artist, humanitarian, scientist, advisor and most of all, as a dear friend to many.

2022 Cleaner Gold Network Summit – Break Out Rooms Report

In a shift from our 2021 approach, Amazon Aid designed this Cleaner Gold Network Summit to be more interactive, with topic specific breakout rooms. The content of each room reflected your interests, which we refined based on responses to a survey we circulated last year. We planned on three distinct conversations covering industry interests, art and education, and policy and associated advocacy. Unfortunately, the discussion about policy and advocacy was not possible to host due to unforeseen circumstances. We’ll bring this conversation back when we all meet again on May 11, 2022. In this report, you’ll be able to review and watch what happened in the Industry and Art & Education rooms.


Industry Breakout Room
Facilitators: Christina Miller and Cecilia Echeverri

Background: Organizations working closely with artisanal and small-scale gold miners have identified that engagement is the way to improve practices. The mining will happen, the gold will sell, but without engagement it will be difficult to encourage forest protection, sales channels that benefit the miners and affected communities and alternatives to mercury use. Therefore we got together to have a conversation about increasing engagement with gold miners and affected communities.

Purpose of the Industry breakout room: The outcome of this meeting was to begin developing a shared definition and an invitation to add to a shared matrix of cleaner gold suppliers. Through a participatory exercise, we gathered participants’ perspectives about how to support and encourage ASM gold projects that don’t harm (deforest or pollute, or disenfranchise affected communities) the Amazon rainforest. To do this we strived to find a starting point while at the same time recognizing that there will be room for improvement over time. We focused on the Amazon, but this can be a model for other regions globally facing similar challenges. Overtime we’ll build toward positive improvements. We chose not to discuss recycled gold during this session and will revisit this at a later date.

The vision for the year – where we are now, where we want to be by Dec. 2022:

  • Feb 23 meeting – We started by asking the group, how might we support miners interested in participating in the Cleaner Gold Network? We developed this query through a series of participatory questions aimed as a brainstorming activity, see below. After the meeting (using a Google form we’ll circulate via email shortly) the group will share ASM gold initiatives they’re aware of, that are taking place globally, with a spotlight on the Amazon. These initiatives can be active or in development, and can be happening globally.
  • Next meeting (May 11, 2022) – Using the criteria developed in February, we’ll aim to include the perspectives of miners and indigenous leaders, to then work toward a shared understanding of what “Cleaner Gold” means.
  • By the end of 2022 – We aim to have a resource for companies interested in supporting, sourcing, and purchasing gold from artisanal and small-scale miners.

The participatory questions posed to the group were:

  1. Share 5 ideas for minimum aspirational characteristics to be included in a cleaner gold definition? What is the dream?
  2. What are five minimum expectations you would have for an ASGM project site in order to be considered for inclusion on a cleaner gold supplier list? What might the spectrum / scale / continuum / continuous improvement look like?
  3. Share your 3 conditions that would be deal-breakers, preventing inclusion on a supplier list?
  4. What is the greatest challenge for ASM that they themselves have identified? What have you heard them say? If you haven’t interacted with miners, you can skip this question.
  5. Are there indicators that will help us identify projects to be included? Such as miner readiness, length of time the site has been operational, etc.
  6. What are the risks of putting this list together? What might some unintended consequences look like?

The next steps that will be undertaken by the Amazon Aid team include:

  1. The creation of a form to capture additional ASGM projects and initiatives that we can include in a cleaner gold supplier list. (In Progress)
  2. Compile and analyze the responses provided during the participatory exercise and share with the group. (In Progress)

Art & Awareness Room
Jessie Nagel Facilitator / Maisie McNeice & Ivan Sikic guest Artists

Making sense of the world around us can be challenging, but artists do this everyday, producing interpretations that benefit society as a whole.

Visual Artist and Lead Consultant for Amazon Aid’s Artist for The Amazon Maisie McNeice began the breakout session with a short presentation introducing her working practice and collaborations with scientists, including the Studio Verde- Art & Ecology Residency program that she founded in Italy in 2021. She will be running a similar Art & Ecology residency program in the Peruvian Amazon starting this fall offering artists an opportunity to engage with communities and enrich their artistic practice from an informed perspective.


Jessie Nagel, Chief Strategist for Amazon Aid, then interviewed Ivan Sicik, a Peruvian conceptual & performance artist who explores oppressive social structures, immigration, and the passing of time through durational actions, installations, public interventions and photography. His work deals with the issues of oppression and greed, and is layered with themes of extraction and colonialism. After learning about the impact of illegal artisanal gold mining in the Peruvian Amazon, Iván was inspired to create LOOT, an immersive installation in which Gold is the centerpiece. Jessie talked with Ivan about this work, how he thinks it has made an impact and when he first connected his work to social change.


The breakout session was then opened up to all participants to discuss how artists can be part of change-making. Artists have a way of interpreting issues in a way that can be more accessible – but how can we build on this and dig deeper in terms of Policy and how can this be a more robust part of Artists for the Amazon and other collaborative programs?

Ideas included:

  • A series of educational lectures directed to Artists from Scientists, experts in their field, and on-the-ground communities.
  • Skill-share and workshops by artists for artists and other experts (including NGOs), to inform artists’ practice and spark concepts.
  • Residencies that can provide and foster community interaction and immersion.
  • Exhibitions: online or in person – perhaps with multiple locations.


Organizations mentioned in Breakout Room:

Worldwide Funding opportunities:


Policy – call to action – How artists can be part of this discussion. Artists have a way of interpreting issues in a way that can be more accessible – but how can we build on this and dig deeper in terms of Policy.

  • Series of educational lectures directed to Artists from Scientists/ experts in their field / miners on the ground/ communities / Skill share – Between artist – workshops. To inform their practice and trigger concepts.
  • Residencies – Skill share/ community interaction/ immersion / artist talks / lectures / exhibitions / workshops
  • Exhibitions / Online Gallery

Advocacy & Policy Room
Charlie Espinosa / Andrea Hill Facilitators

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we had to postpone the Advocacy & Policy Working Session. This was a great disappointment, as we were eager to incorporate your expertise into a concrete advocacy plan that could be taken by the CGN community. Nonetheless, participants from both the Industry Room and Art & Awareness Room stressed the importance of advocacy, and how excited they were to support future initiatives. Using their insights as a springboard, we plan to jump into a productive, collaborative discussion during the next Cleaner Gold Network Summit.

The Cleaner Gold Network is based on the principles of human rights, science, transparency, support for democratic participation, and respect for the sovereign rights of Amazon region countries over territories and natural resources, including the sustainable use and development of those resources, as recognized by international law.