Target: Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega
Goal: Stop environmentally destructive canal from being built in Nicaragua
Nicaragua recently sold the rights to build a huge mega-canal, which will rival the Panama Canal, to a Chinese firm. The proposed canal would be 186 miles long and connect the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea. Scientists warn that the canal could wreak havoc upon some of the most fragile and pristine areas of Central America. In light of the dire environmental consequences being predicted by scientists, we should tell Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega to reconsider the deal he has made with China to build this canal.
In granting the 50-year rights for the Hong Kong bases firm to build and operate this mega-canal Nicaragua declined to conduct any kind of environmental impact review of the project. The Nicaraguans also declined to conduct any type of bidding process in which other firms were allowed to submit proposals to compete with the Chinese firm for the rights to build and operate the canal. The failure to conduct an adequate environmental impact review or seek competing proposals shows a failure of the Nicaraguan government to look after the best interests of its people.
According to an independent scientific study, the project will destroy 400,000 hectares of wetlands and rainforest. It will also be necessary to confiscate a large amount of land from the indigenous population of Nicaragua. The constitution of Nicaragua was modified in order to legalize this confiscation of land from the indigenous tribes. Many rivers would need to be damned, and the health of Lake Nicaragua, the largest freshwater lake in Nicaragua, would be compromised. The Island of Ometepe, a World Biosphere Reserve site would be put at risk.
Taken in balance, the environmental destruction that would result from the construction of this meg-canal in Nicaragua cannot be justified. The short-term economic gain that Nicaragua stands to receive from allowing this canal to be built will never make up for the damage it will cause. Please sign this petition and urge President Ortega of Nicaragua to reconsider the decision to allow China to build this environmentally destructive canal.
Dear President Ortega of Nicaragua:
The canal that is currently planned through Nicaragua will cause irreparable damage to the environment. 400,000 hectares of pristine rainforest will be lost as a result of this project. Many rivers will be destroyed, and Lake Nicaragua and the Island of Ometepe will be compromised.
Ecotourism is a huge emerging industry in Nicaragua. The degradation that this canal will cause to the environment in Nicaragua stands to put the tourism industry at risk.
Additionally, much of the indigenous population stands to lose its ancestral lands.
The short-term financial gain Nicaragua will receive from this project is not worth the long-term harm that will be done to the environment. I urge you to protect Nicaragua from the environmental disaster that will result from this project. Please halt the construction of this mega-canal.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: David Ansley via Wikimedia Commons