Yasuní “Green Gold”

Yasuni Indigenous PeopleThe Yasuní National Park in the Ecuadorian Amazon region in the provinces of Orellana and Pastaza is one of the most bio-diverse places and untouched areas on the planet as well as being home to many indigenous people, including some who voluntarily maintain no contact with the outside world.

One hectare (approximately the size of two football pitches or about one cricket field) of the Yasuní, for example, is home to the same number of native tree species as the whole of North America.  Yasuní also contains nearly 40% of all the mammal species found in the Amazon Basin forests and 44% of the Amazon Basin’s birds. Yasuni Bird

Unfortunately, Yasuní also sits above between 412 and 920 million barrels of oil and the oil companies are desperate to start drilling.

In May 2007, Ecuador’s government announced they were prepared to leave the oil in the ground but would need financial and political support from the international community.  Since then, there have been a number of ups and downs for the Yasuní initiative (please see this New Internationalist blog for some of the details).  According to the National Geographic Daily News, however, Ecuador aims to sign an agreement in the coming weeks to ensure that, in exchange for money, there is no drilling for oil in a huge plot of the rain forest.  The idea is that contributions from industrialized nations and, potentially, from corporations (previously, there had also been suggestions that ordinary individuals would also be able to make a contribution) would make up for the revenue Ecuador would lose by keeping the oil underground.
Yasuni Green GoldThe Yasuní Green Gold campaign, an international network of people and organisations, believes the Yasuní must be preserved as it is “Green Gold” and has been working hard to ensure the oil is not exploited.  The campaign was born with the support of the local government and people of Orellana.  The aims of the campaign are:

  • to act as a loudspeaker for the local people raising the volume of their voices and concerns to an international level;
  • to refocus the attention from the oil under the Yasuní to the importance of its biological and cultural richness in order to allow for alternatives for the region;
  • to create an international network of people and organisations that support local efforts in the protection of the Yasuní;
  • to act in co-operation with other movements and people in order to be the most effective; and
  • to support the development and implementation of local solutions for the sustainable development of the Yasuní region.

Let us hope the Ecuadorian agreement fulfils its promise and meets the expectations of  the Yasuní Green Gold campaign and its supporters such as the New Internationalist.

To learn more about Yasuní, please visit these sites:

David M. Davison

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4 Responses to “Yasuní “Green Gold””

  1. EcoEarth’s rainforest portal reported on 31st July that:
    “Ecuador’s government announced today it has reached a deal with the United Nations Development Program under which donor countries will compensate Quito for leaving oil reserves untouched in a large primary rainforest filled national park. Yasuni National Park – covering some 9,820 km2, or about the size of Massachusetts – is thought to be one of Earth’s most biodiversity rich sites and is also home to several nomadic Indian tribes. Yasuni’s preservation (total protection, not “sustainable management” or “conservation”) would spare Earth some 410 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that contribute to global warming; while keeping biodiversity, ecosystems and cultures fully intact. The official signing is reported to be held on Tuesday.”

    For the full report, please visit:
    http://www.rainforestportal.org/issues/2010/07/releasevictory_ecuador_sets_ma.asp

    David M. Davison

  2. The Guardian has reported that, according to the UN, the “crowdfunding” initiative has raised $116m (£75m), enough to temporarily halt the exploitation of the 722 square miles of “core” Amazonian rainforest known as Yasuní:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/dec/30/ecuador-paid-rainforest-oil-alliance

    David M. Davison

  3. New Internationalist is promoting a petition to urge the UK government to support the initiative both financially and by lobbying other European Union states:
    http://www.newint.org/blog/2012/01/24/save-yasuni-uk-petition/

    Please visit the New Internationalist web page then sign the petition via the link provided on that page.

    Thank you,

    David M. Davison

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