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Sat Feb 14, 2015, 06:33 PM

Deforestation: What’s driving it? Oil in the Rainforest


Each day 80,000 acres of rainforest are destroyed and another 80,000 acres are degraded.

A few years ago, the world watched as the BP disaster unfolded along the Gulf Coast of the US. Yet while this story dominated one news cycle after another, deep in the Amazon’s Ecuadorean Oriente the world’s largest environmental disaster stemming from oil production was unfolding, and was largely ignored. When Texaco entered the Ecuadorean Oriente in 1967, the area was considered the most biodiverse place on Earth, and home to several indigenous groups. Since then, more than 20 billion gallons of toxic drilling waste and 17 million gallons of oil have been dumped into the regions soil and waterways. Where villages of indigenous peoples once lived, roads wind through the landscape; where farms once yielded a bounty of crops, hundreds of waste pits remain. Oil spills within the Amazon are both the most difficult to contain, due to the network of waterways, and the most challenging to clean-up, due to the remote area, and the rugged and varied landscapes. All of this begs the question: why oil?

Why Oil?

Despite all the risks involved in oil drilling in the Amazon, they are negated with one word: money. The monies at stake for both oil companies and governments are so vast that human rights and environmental destruction are merely regrettable necessities en route to enormous profits. Ironically, the indigenous peoples residing on these oil rich lands rarely reap the benefits. If those lands are destroyed, the governments and oil interests who profit are far removed from the disaster and suffer little impact. The Rainforest Foundation has worked beside many indigenous groups to help them gain official title and rights to their ancestral lands. But sadly we find that where rights thwart the “progress” of oil production, rights are simply ignored altogether, or conveniently reinterpreted. Such is the case with the Shuar of Ecuador. After fighting for years to gain title to 700 square miles of their ancestral lands, the Shuar were stunned to discover that just a year later the Ecuadorian government had sold a 100 square-mile concession on their land for oil development. The governments’ justification was that the Shuar’s title to the land extended only to surface rights and not the subsurface.

Right now indigenous peoples are battling oil interests throughout the Amazon.

In Peru, where nearly three quarters of the Amazon rainforest is covered in oil concessions, the Achuar communities have temporarily taken over oil platforms and succeeded in gaining promises to clean up spills and compensate communities. Quechua communities in the Pastaza of Peru, have begun mapping spills and training community leaders in environmental monitoring to prove the existence of spills and demand change. In Ecuador, indigenous organizations are mobilizing against the expansion of oil exploration on their lands in the Southern Amazon. CONAIE, the national federation of indigenous organizations, is organizing a campaign to halt the expansion of oil concessions. In Belize, the Maya recently won two landmark Supreme Court victories that upheld their rights to their land and resources, and specifically forbid the government to issue new concessions on Mayan lands. Yet the government is now appealing the Court’s decision and trying to issue a large oil concession on these lands to the US-based oil Company US Energy.

Click here for a slideshow about the consequences of oil drilling.

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Reply Deforestation: What’s driving it? Oil in the Rainforest (Original post)
Bill USA Feb 2015 OP
ladjf Feb 2015 #1
madokie Feb 2015 #2

Response to Bill USA (Original post)

Sat Feb 14, 2015, 07:35 PM

1. We've got to stop killing everything on Earth in the pursuit of oil.

There are other useful and practical forms of energy to use.

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Response to Bill USA (Original post)

Sat Feb 14, 2015, 09:20 PM

2. When I read a story that starts off with 125 square miles being lost each day

I'm skeptical of anything in the report

Just so's you know

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