People We Love :: Ricardo Navarro

Choosing a Sustainable Path
Ricardo Navarro

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Ricardo Navarro used to be a professor of mechanical engineering in his native El Salvador. Then he had an epiphany.

Why build new roads and shopping centers, he wondered, when forests and streams are destroyed in the process? Within a few years, he founded El Salvador’s largest environmental NGO: the Salvadoran Center for Appropriate Technology (CESTA).

CESTA’s major project was the “Forest of Reconciliation”  on the Guazapa volcano, where 75,000 trees were planted in memory of victims of the Salvadoran Civil War. More recent projects include promoting bicycling and bike maintenance in cities, especially among young people. In rural areas, CESTA has installed dry composting latrines in an effort to stave off disease and groundwater pollution.   

Says Navarro: “The struggle we have is basically the struggle to have a better life for everybody—a struggle for survival.”


  • : In Oaxaca people created their own university, "unitierra", where students learn by apprenticeship those skills needed in their communities.


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