Target: Peruvian Minister of the Environment Manuel Pulgar Vidal
Goal: Keep gas drilling out of protected rainforest
According to recently leaked documents, Pluspetrol, a South American petroleum and energy company, has decided to cast their gaze towards a massive swath of Manu park, a protected Peruvian national park, and part of the Peruvian Amazon. This specific park and part of the jungle boasts an unrivaled bounty of ecological diversity and is home to a group of indigenous people who to this day have almost no contact with the modern world.
If the document, entitled “Research Plan for Geological Exploration and Surface Geochemistry in the Manu National Park and its Buffer Zone,” is to be believed, then it would seem that the government of Peru will be conceding portions of the park and other protected areas to be prospected and exploited for natural gas and other resources. Such developments have been rumored to be in the works for some time. However, this recent development has managed to at least partially peel back the veil of mystery and shed some light on the government’s and the gas companies’ intentions for Peruvian rainforests.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (better known by its acronym, UNESCO) has stated that the Peruvian Amazon’s biodiversity “exceeds that of any other place on earth.” The animals that dwell in the depths of Manu are unlike those of almost anywhere else on the planet. According to researchers, Manu National Park is home to 5% of the world’s mammals, 15% of the world’s butterflies, and 10% of all of the species of birds on Earth. Manu National Park’s astounding biodiversity makes it a true scientific treasure and something that must be protected at all costs.
Manu National Park is home to yet another species—human beings. Various indigenous groups live deep in the park’s jungles. They have virtually no contact with the outside world, living almost completely cut off from modern lifestyles and technologies, preserving a way of life that dates back countless centuries to time immemorial. They live in the park safe from incursions upon their traditional cultures. For them to lose their ancestral lands, the only homes any of them have ever known, would be a tragedy and a human rights violation of the highest order.
Peru nominally has laws on the books to stop companies from exploiting protected lands, especially when it comes to mining and gas drilling, but there is a good chance that Pluspetrol will find a way in. Whether or not Pluspetrol and the Peruvian government are in cahoots is not entirely clear but one thing is certain— Manu National Park, and all of the life that dwells within it, must be protected. Take a moment to sign the petition and let your voice be heard.
Dear Minister Vidal,
The rainforests of the Peruvian Amazon are truly among the Earth’s most spectacular treasures. They represent an environment and an ecosystem that is considered by scientists to be one of the richest on the planet. Nowhere else is biodiversity observed on such a truly awe inspiring scale. Human beings call the deep forests home too; indigenous people have lived there practically forever. They practice a way of life and a lifestyle that the modern world has all but forgotten. Why then, given all of this wonder and importance would you and your government ever even consider opening Manu National Park up for gas drilling?
Such practices would have an unspeakable impact on the environment. If you let Pluspetrol drill in the park, countless species would be lost; humans would be displaced and thrown into a world that they know nothing of, one that they could not easily adapt to. A seemingly limitless treasure trove of scientific knowledge and potential would be destroyed. Mr. Vidal, please do your part and make sure that Manu National Park remains unmolested. Do not let Pluspetrol destroy your rainforests.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Hanumann via flickr