Oppose Oil Drilling in Ecuador’s Rainforests

Target: President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa

Goal: Don’t allow destruction of beautiful national park in favor of oil drilling

In 2007, the Ecuadorian government instated a conservation plan known as the Yasuní ITT Initiative. The goal of the initiative was to preserve biodiversity and protect indigenous people in Yasuní National Park, a lush, natural rainforest area, by refraining from drilling for large oil reserves beneath the ground. In exchange for leaving the estimated 846 million barrels of oil intact, the government of Ecuador requested that they receive around half of the worth of the oil, or about 3.6 billion dollars, from the international community over a period of 13 years. The money would be used to fund alternative energy, such as solar, hydro and wind power. However, Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa, recently announced that after raising only 336 million dollars, the country has decided to abandon the Yasuní ITT Initiative and instead start drilling for oil.

Yasuní National Park is an incredibly rich area in terms of biodiversity. According to some reports, one hectare of the park is believed to provide a home for more types of birds, reptiles, amphibians and trees than in all of the United States and Canada combined. Furthermore, the area is home to two major indigenous groups, the Kichwa and Waorani. Oil drilling would have profoundly negative impacts on these groups of people, as well as on the numerous plant and animal species they depend upon for survival.

The Yasuní ITT Initiative, which Latin American analyst, Guy Edwards, described as “a bold and ambitious attempt to avoid carbon emissions, protect biodiversity, uphold the rights of nature and indigenous peoples, and encourage the transition to sustainable development,” is widely popular among Ecuadorian’s. Polls showed that as many as 90 percent of the country’s citizens were against oil drilling in Yasuní National Park.

Sadly, the desire for monetary gain appears to have once again won out against conservation. By permitting oil drilling in the area, Ecuador will allow an alarming 400 million tons of carbon dioxide to enter the atmosphere, thus contributing heavily to global climate change. Furthermore, the destructive process of oil drilling will irreversibly damage the forests of Yasuní National Park and the creatures that reside there. Urge President Correa to stop the plan to drill for oil in Yasuní National Park, and instead protect the country’s rich biodiversity by continuing to follow the Yasuní ITT Initiative.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Rafael Correa,

Yasuní National Park is an extremely rich area in terms of biodiversity. There are untold numbers of rare plants and animals that call the area home, and depend on these forests for survival. The Yasuní ITT Initiative, a progressive plan to protect biodiversity by not exploiting the vast oil reserves in the park, ensured the survival of the many species that exist in Yasuní National Park.

However, due to a desire for monetary gain, you have now decided to abandon the immensely popular Yasuní ITT Initiative, and instead begin drilling for oil. This decision will have wide-reaching, extremely negative effects. In addition to emitting an estimated 400 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and therefore contributing heavily to climate change, oil drilling in Yasuní National Park will destroy enormous areas of natural habitat. Without this habitat, many species of plant and animal will perish. Furthermore, the process of oil drilling will negatively affect the indigenous nations that depend upon this area for survival.

In order to protect biodiversity and help to prevent global climate change, I strongly urge you to stop the plan to drill in Yasuní National Park. Instead, I ask that you reinstate the Yasuní ITT Initiative, and therefore help to preserve an irreplaceable and intrinsically valuable area of rainforest.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: J.E. Norton via Flickr

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One Comment

  1. sharon mccullough says:

    it would have been nice to add my own words to the petition. More could have been said in a 2 or 3 lines.

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