Ecuador has just revealed plans to sell off more than a third of their rainforest to Chinese oil companies, in a move that threatens the very existence of the people who live there. And the tribesmen are fighting back, which can only end in tragedy.
It’s a real heartbreaker for people like us, dedicated to protecting some of the planet’s most important, beautiful and rich natural environments. But it’s life threatening for the local tribes who live in the region, who have vowed to fight to the death to save the place they call home.
The country’s rainforests are one of the most bio-diverse, with an astonishing tenth of the planet’s species. But the Ecuadorian government is putting the country’s economy first, agreeing to sell more than 8 million acres, a spread the size of Belgium.
Horribly short-term thinking
A stunning display of short term thinking by the Ecuador’s government, the news has already led to mass protests around the globe. Sadly while it’s disappointing, it isn’t entirely unexpected given the nation’s record on rainforest conservation so far. In 2007 the country offered to guarantee the rainforest’s preservation, promising to leave the 850 million or so barrels of oil assumed to lie beneath the jungle where they were… but only if they were paid $3.5 billion to do so.
The international community could have paid the ransom. If they’d decided to act fast they could have saved a great chunk of the world’s most important rainforest environments for future generations. And it would have prevented a massive 400 million metric tons of carbon from leaking into the planet’s atmosphere. But 2008’s worldwide recession put paid to that and the region has been under threat ever since. By 2012 there was just $200 million in the pot and contributions had dried up.
There’s no two ways about it: it’s a devastating decision for the indigenous tribes who have lived in the country’s pristine jungles for millennia, the creatures who depend on it and the planet as a whole. Ecuador and China’s international reputations are at stake too, but that doesn’t seem to concern them much. Greed one, rainforests nil.
Protest about Ecuador’s decision
If you’d like to protest about the decision you can contact the UK Ecuador Embassy by email to make your voice heard. Their email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org you can use the form on their website.