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Ecuador’s Amazon: What’s Happening

Posted by in Events, Typical Ecuador | November 22, 2013
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8x10 Drill HereIf you have seen us out and about lately, you’ve probably heard that we have teamed up with The Virabrations Project and Off the Mat Into the World in efforts to support indigenous and environmental rights in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Whew. That was a mouthful.

What it really means to us is a chance to support the country that so warmly hosts us and our groups each year in a struggle that is both pressing and international in scope. There are hundreds of articles describing the challenges and there’s just no way to summarize it all in one neat little package but I wanted to share some of the main points:

 

THE GOOD

  • Ecuador was the first country IN THE WORLD to grant constitutional rights to the environment. Wow.
  • Indigenous populations in the Ecuadorian rainforest have been incredibly powerful over the past two decades, specifically in their efforts to encourage unprecedented unity amongst not only their own communities, but have inspired sweeping unity throughout the Andes and Coastal regions of Ecuador as well. This unity and passion is what led to the inclusion of nature’s constitutional rights and many other progressive, positive movements in the Ecuadorian government.

IMG_2305 IMG_5423 IMG_5540 IMG_5689

 

THE UGLY

  • “While drilling in the Ecuadorian Amazon from 1964 to 1990, Texaco – which merged with Chevron in 2001 – deliberately dumped more than 18 billion gallons of toxic wastewater, spilled roughly 17 million gallons of crude oil, and left hazardous waste in hundreds of open pits dug out of the forest floor. To save money, Texaco chose to use environmental practices that were obsolete, did not meet industry standards, and were illegal in Ecuador and the United States.” -Chevron Toxico Campaign
  • Chevron continues to fight against being held accountable. Their strategy seems to be to keep their competition in court long enough to exhaust the financial resources of those who support the rainforests & communities who call it their home.
  • The president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, made an unsuccessful plea to the international community to share responsibility in protecting the pristine areas of Ecuador’s rainforest from oil drilling. He promised that if we all could raise only HALF of what the oil is worth, he could & would prevent the drilling. Unfortunately, this plea came in the midst of economic collapses and hardships all over the world. The international community did not even come close to meeting the goal.

Ecuador Oil Spill Hands Dripping with Oil Oil Spill on Hand Toxic Dump

 

TO SUM IT ALL UP:

While communities in Ecuador have taken unprecedented strides to enact change, the government has included rights in the constitution for the environment, and there has been much hope, unfortunately Ecuador is still a developing nation and their greatest asset happens to be billions of gallons of oil tucked peacefully away beneath one of the most bio-diverse places on our planet.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Simply by being aware of these challenges, you are supporting positive change.
  • Take a moment each day to take five deep breaths and know that one of every five breaths we take is thanks to the Amazon Rainforest.
  • Know about the devastating effects of oil drilling and exploration…and be mindful of your oil consumption
  • Share your knowledge with others. Don’t worry, you don’t have to know EVERYTHING about a situation to feel passionate about the cause. Just choose a couple of points that really pull your heartstrings and get to spreading the word.
  • Grow your knowledge by visiting sites such as Amazon Watch
  • Donate with us or to other organizations supporting the areas you’re most passionate about (for a list of who specifically we’re donating to, you can visit the Partners & Projects page on the Virabrations Project website)

THANKS for reading, for your caring spirit, your curiosity, and for the 5 minutes you just spent reading my ramblings! If you want more info, feel free to ask…we could talk about this all day.

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