Target: The Amazon Conservation Team
Goal: Help Kichwa villagers on Sani Isla stop the PetroAmazonas company from engaging in a seismic survey of their land
Four hundred and twenty-two indigenous Kichwa people inhabit the village found on Sani Isla in Ecuador. Together, they own land usage rights over an area of 70,000 hectares — an area which is known to be one of the most biodiverse in the world. One hectare there contains a “wider variety of life than all of North America.” The potential in such an untainted area of forest is naturally high and as such puts it under pressure from energy firms and those who seek to profit through logging. The villagers of the area have previously invested in an eco-lodge, known as Sani Lodge, in order to raise income while using the lodge as a way to reinvest in conservation of the area. However, the lodge has not been as profitable as intended, putting the villagers in a particularly vulnerable time to be approached by PetroAmazonas.
PetroAmazonas has offered to give the villagers much needed funds and additional healthcare, as well as new schools, eco-lodges, and university education for children of villagers in exchange for exploration rights that would include a seismic survey of the land for oil. Although oil companies such as these already do such work in other parts of the Amazon under the banner of minimized environmental impact, pollution still runs rampant in river waters with immigration and deforestation following in the wake of “innocent” road-building. In light of this and against all the potential benefits offered to their community, Patricio Jipa and Mari Muench are initiating a campaign to convince their fellow villagers not to accept the deal. Although the deal would be a source of money loaned for the failing eco-lodge, Jipa says, “they are offering what we need and want, but the cost is immeasurable for us and the rest of the world. We are isolated and fighting alone.”
Together, the two are hoping for help from the government as well as the media in order to convince the Kichwas of Sani Isla to deny exploration rights by the time of their village meeting on October 27. Jipa has previously been targeted for assassination, and as such requires all the help possible in order to protect the land they live on. This requires not only a halt to PetroAmazonas’ advances, but a conservational plan that will keep his village afloat. It is for this reason that The Amazon Conservation Team must be appealed to for immediate help. Lend your voice to the people of this village by signing the petition below.
Dear Amazon Conservation Team,
The 422 indigenous Kichwa people who make up the community of Ecuador’s Sani Isla need your help. Currently, they have land right usage over 70,000 hectares of the region on which their village resides. This area is known to be of extreme biodiversity value, with a single hectare holding a “wider variety of life than all of North America”.
The people of the village had previously invested in an eco-lodge which has failed to make significantly profitable returns. It is in this particularly vulnerable time that PetroAmazonas is offering them money, healthcare, schools, a new eco-lodge, and university education of children in exchange for exploration rights over their land. Two villagers have taken it upon themselves to try and convince their fellow villagers, despite poor economical conditions, to disallow the granting of acceptance rights to this oil company. They realize the danger of doing so, and the harm that will be caused to this land. However, in order to successfully halt this encroachment, they require help.
Please, lend your services to the people of this village. Failing to do so will mean future damage to valuable land which has thus far been kept intact. Help stop the seismic survey being proposed for this land and protect Sani Isla.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: markg6 via Flickr