March 23, 2010


When I first visited Ecuador 3 years ago I did a bit of traveling around and I noticed how many rivers were practically dry, which made these areas look barren and desolate, when they used to be lush and green. I asked an Ecuadorean why this was the case and I was told that it was because so much vegetation had been cut down or killed in the Amazon rainforest. Therefore less humidity and less water production, which equals dry riverbeds all around Ecuador. I’ve totally simplified the process but it made vividly real to me, perhaps for the first time, exactly what the destruction of the Amazon rainforest means, to Ecuador, and eventually to the world.

So when I found out about the lawsuit brought about by indigenous peoples of the Amazon against Texaco (now owned by Chevron) I looked into it. Here’s a synopsis:

“In 1964, Texaco, now owned by Chevron, began drilling for oil in an area of the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest called the Oriente. Upon its departure from the region in 1992, Texaco left behind a cataclysmal trail of destruction. Having used obsolete drilling tactics in order to save money, Texaco is responsible for the spillage of close to 19 billion gallons of oil. Much of this excess oil has found its way to main waterways, including streams and rivers the local people use for drinking, bathing, fishing, and cooking.

The aftermath of the oil extraction has destroyed essential plant life, killed native animals, and rendered Ecuadorians (in the area) cancer-ridden, prone to miscarriages and birth defects, and immune deficient. Even today, almost 20 years later, Oriente residents are struggling to survive in the face of extreme poverty and hunger due to exceedingly depleted resources.

Yet Chevron refuses to admit any wrongdoing whatsoever. The oil conglomerate has repeatedly refuted the link between its operations in the rainforest and the current state of the environment there. Chevron has even gone so far as to claim no tangible connection between oil (in the main waterways) and cancer.”

If you’d like to find out more, watch “Crude: The Real Price of Oil”, a documentary of the story of this controversial and groundbreaking legal case. You can watch the trailer on youtube:

And if you'd like to act, here’s the link to sign one petition (it will take less than a minute).

I've chosen this country to be my home, I figure it's the least I can do.

1 comment:

Nancy Watson said...

Lourdes, Thank you for this post.