Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ecuador’s Amazon: Held hostage by poverty and petrodollars

18 Jul 2011
Source: Greenfudge.org

Around 35% of Ecuador’s residents live below the poverty line. The economy of this South American nation depends overwhelmingly on its natural resources and agriculture. Half of the area of Ecuador is covered by the Amazon rainforest.

The Ecuadoran Amazon is one of the richest, most bio-diverse place on the planet and the “lungs of the Earth”, supplying crucial oxygen and taking in vast amounts of CO2.

However, beneath this extremely important carbon sink and treasure of natural life that the entire world benefits from is a huge amount of oil – $7bn worth

Ecuador’s government is willing to take $3.5bn to preserve the rainforest and not cut it down to extract the oil – that’s half of what they could earn from drilling. By forgoing the big temporary pay off, this poor country would receive much needed cash and the world would keep a big part of its lungs and biodiversity.

The offer has been on the table for 5 years and Ecuador is running out of time. If they don’t get $100,000 by the end of the year they will have to start clearing the precious Amazon.

But now, according to an article in the Guardian, small donations from private citizens are now being accepted through the Yasuni ITT Trust Fund.

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