Action Alert: Don’t Drill for Oil in Ecuador’s Amazon

July 17th, 2015 - by admin

Amazon Watch – 2015-07-17 00:56:22

ACTION ALERT: Stop Oil Drilling
In the Amazon and Yasuni National Park

Amazon Watch

(July 15, 2015) — The Amazon rainforest regulates our weather system and is vital to maintaining Earth’s fragile balance. It also houses one-third of the planet’s animal and plant species and produces one-fifth of its flowing fresh water. For indigenous inhabitants and for our global climate, the Amazon must be protected.

The movement is growing and now our friends at Sierra Club have joined the call. Will you stand with the people and wildlife of Ecuador to save the Amazon from devastation of oil drilling?

As many of you know, the Pope traveled to Ecuador this week and spoke out strongly in favor of protecting the Amazon. “The tapping of natural resources, which are so abundant in Ecuador, must not be concerned with short-term benefits,” he said while speaking before a group that included indigenous people of the Amazon.

Yet Ecuador’s President Correa is attempting to open over ten million acres of pristine rainforest to oil drilling against the will of indigenous people who call the Amazon home. This area includes Yasuní National Park, home to Ecuador’s last communities living in voluntary isolation and one of the most biodiverse places on Earth.

Over one million people have already stood up to save Ecuador’s threatened rainforests — please join them and echo the Pope’s call by sending your message to President Rafael Correa!

For the Amazon,
Paul Paz y Miño
Director of Outreach and Online Strategy

The Letter

I am writing to express my concern about plans for cancelling the Yasuni Initiative and for plans for new oil drilling in the rainforests of the south-central Ecuadorian Amazon, through the XIth Oil Round.

As you well know, the area included in the oil concessions of the XIth Oil Round is some of the last pristine old growth forest in Ecuador. It also includes the traditional and titled homelands of seven indigenous nationalities that have repeatedly voted to reject oil extraction on their lands.

As concerned global citizens, we stand in solidarity with these indigenous nations and urge you to immediately stop the progress of the XIth Round and pursue alternative strategies for Ecuador’s long-term economic development that are consistent with your historic commitment to protect the rights of nature and the rights of indigenous people and to address the issue of poverty for your people.

We also call upon you to reinstate the innovative Yasuni ITT initiative to protect this vital national treasure.

As you also know, much of Ecuador’s Amazon and its people have been gravely affected by oil extraction over the years, and drilling in an area of such high biological diversity and cultural sensitivity will have devastating effects. If the oil that is slated to be extracted lay beneath Quito or Guayaquil, voices of concern would surely be heard.

The remoteness of these potential deposits cannot justify minimizing the environmental and cultural dangers of drilling. These potential oil deposits lie beneath ancestral lands that have been inhabited and protected by indigenous people for generations. The indigenous peoples’ rights and commitment must be respected.

This is an historic opportunity for you and for Ecuador to lead the world towards a sustainable and just future. By restoring the protection of Yasuni ITT and halting the XIth Round, leaving the oil in the ground, and pursuing a truly sustainable future, your example would inspire people around the globe.

We urge you to do the right thing and respect the rights and wishes of indigenous people. The health and well being of future generations is in your hands.