Ecuador invites the world to save its rainforest

Written by Toben

Topics: Oil

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Ecuador’s newly-elected President Rafael Correa has appealed to the international community to help raise half the amount of projected revenues resulting from oil extraction in one of the most biologically-rich tropical rainforests in the world in order to save it. The announcement is somewhat revolutionary in that an elected leader is openly promoting investment in protecting rainforests versus opening them up to endless exploitation. The projected amount to be raised, estimated at $350 million per year for ten years, would then be used to keep the oil in the ground and protect it forever.

Elected leaders around the world should follow Correa’s example, particularly because protecting this area is vital in what should be a global effort to curb climate change, preserve biological diversity, and respect the rights of Indigenous communities around the world. Nations that would otherwise benefit from oil exported from this region should share a sense of responsibility in helping Ecuador withstand pressure to exploit it. Furthermore, it should not be the sole responsibility of Ecuador to protect the Amazon for the rest of the world.


And there are other costs that should be taken very seriously, particularly for the foreign oil companies preparing to bid for the 930 million barrels estimated to be under the ground. The area – known as the ITT (Ishpingo-Tiputini-Tambococha) block, is located within Yasuni National Park, home to Indigenous communities living in deep isolation from the outside world. Oil exploration would severely damage their cultural heritage, contaminate their land, and expose them to numerous health hazards and diseases. Oil drilling has already left a toxic legacy in surrounding areas and the costs to Ecuador and its people have been staggering.

Just ask Chevron, who in the coming year may be forced to pay damages upwards of $6 billion dollars resulting from a class-action lawsuit by 30,000 plaintiffs in Ecuador demanding environmental remediation after years of wreckless oil pollution. And that figure does not include the millions of dollars already spent defending the case, let alone the human cost to the victims.

Somehow $350 million a year for 10 years doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

Read the full article in The Christian Science Monitor here.

9 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. John Merlo says:

    Yes this would be a very good project to pursue a I applaud the new president to take action and invite other nations to readily help do the same thing and help protect the rain forests around t he world.

  2. Jane Mauer says:

    this is a great move towards curbing global warming

  3. Marilyn Gill says:

    President Correa has taken a dramatic step in the right direction. The world benefits from the saving of the Rainforest let alone its indigenous peoples.

    How courageous this action is! Other presidents should follow suit – but will they? Kudos to President Rafael Correa for his foresight and courage!!

  4. I think this is a great idea. How about individual and state/province/territory contributions too?

  5. Alice Whittenburg says:

    You know, last week when I first heard that President Rafael Correa had proposed this extraordinary solution to rainforest destruction and the destruction of the lives of indigenous people, I thought it was something activists would eagerly embrace. But I have heard very little about it since then. But how else can we save rainforest, when so many interests seem to dictate its destruction? Does anyone have any ideas about how we can help to further President Correa’s proposal to save the people and lands of Yasuni National Park? Shouldn’t we do what we can to encourage corporations and governments to respond?

  6. Sharon Dickenson says:

    President Correa is taking a great step to save the Rain forest! I wish leaders of all countries follow his actions.

  7. Mark Knapp says:

    There’s a fly in the ointment. Or perhaps it’s an elephant. If we pin our hopes on financial investors, conservation will not succeed, because investment demands growth. (For example, do you know anyone with a retirement account that has ZERO return on investment?) It doesn’t matter if it’s growth in making plastic widgets from petroleum, growth in tourism, or the export of indigenous crafts. In any case, the forest will still be consumed.

    A viable solution is one that the modern industrial world doesn’t like. It would be to embrace limits and reduce population, affluence and technology. And that would necessitate the destruction of capitalism.

    So here’s what I suggest you do. Step away from your computer, make human contact with your neighbors, and launch a project to obstruct any or all plans being made by your local capitalists. Do whatever you can to put sand in the gears of the machine. Kill the economy before it kills the rainforest.

  8. Alice Whittenburg says:

    I don’t know if I agree with Mark or not. Or maybe I should say that I agree with Mark that economic growth is the problem and that local action is the solution to many of the problemsm we face. But the destruction of the rainforest is such an irreversible and horrible possibility, I think we need to do something before it’s too late. And I’m not really sure that the notion of killing the economy before it kills the rainforest is entirely helpful in a world in which the economy is much stronger and better defended than the rainforest is. I don’t drive a car, I have no children, I am a vegetarian, I don’t buy most consumer goods (I do have a computer, I admit, but I often “step away from it”), but still the rainforest is under seige. And I think that Correa’s idea may help to save at least one small part of it.

  9. lynda says:

    Okay…This is a conservationist, ‘lefty’ activist dream…This is what many activists always scream for…Where are they?…

    Just give them the darn money and hope for the best!

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