Chevron Oil is preparing to invade the Amazon rainforest over a find of $7.2 billion in oil reserves, located in Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park. They began Monday, January 15, 2013, unless the Kichwa tribe of the Amazon rainforest can stop them.
"People think it is dishonest and the oil company is treating them like dogs. It does not respect the land or the planet. There is no deal, nothing is agreed. The people do not want the oil company," Gualinga said. "We have decided to fight to the end. Each landholder will defend their territory. We will help each other and stand shoulder to shoulder to prevent anyone from passing," posted the tribe in Our Amazing Story.
South America’s largest state-backed oil company, Chevron, will be facing the Kichwa tribe, ethnically similar to the Quechua of the Andes mountains in Ecuador and Peru, an indigenous community of about 400 members. Saying they will fight to the death to stop Big Oil, Yahoo! News reports that the location is “home to some of the richest variety of life on Earth.” Scientific studies of this region have found that 2.47 of rainforest acres contain a wider variety of life than in all of North America.
The country of Ecuador is the only country in the world to recognize the rights of nature in its constitution, home to the Galapagos Islands. However, now a global battle exists between the area’s living systems and fossil fuels; the Amazon’s level of animal populations in Ecuador has plunged to twice the 30% global average.
The Yasuni National Park is also home to two of the world's last uncontacted tribes, the Tagaeri and Taromenane tribes, who live deep in this Amazon rainforest. According to the Guardian, “they have fought off illegal loggers and Catholic missionaries with spears and blowpipes to maintain their isolated, nomadic existence.”
“Scientists believe Yasuni is the most bio-diverse place on Earth and large swaths of the park remain in pristine condition thanks partly to the ferocity of the indigenous people's resistance to intruders.”
Map of Ecuador
Global Greengrants Fund
Yasuni National Forest of Ecuador, South America
A new study proves that the presence of oil companies can have subtler, but still major impacts, on indigenous groups and the ecosystems in which they live.