Eye on the Amazon: The Official Blog of Amazon Watch
February 5, 2013
Support the Delegation!
Please help us to bring Jaime and Narcisa to Houston to confront the Ecuadorian government at NAPE.
Waves engulf homes and fish turn up dead, while fishermen go hungry. The Santo Antônio hydroelectric dam changed the river and life in Rondônia.
January 24, 2013 | Ana Aranha
As the Brazil government pursues its reckless plans to build mega-dams on major Amazonian rivers like the Xingu and Madeira, we can expect to see their catastrophic social and environmental consequences continue to befall local communities. This article highlights how the construction of the Santo Antônio dam of Brazil's Madeira River Complex in the Amazonian state of Rondônia has unleashed the river's destructive powers, swallowing a riverside community in the city of Porto Velho. It also shows how these dams decimate the abundant fish species that are so crucial to local food security and livelihoods while uprooting thousands of people from their homes.
This is sadly just one of the stories emerging from dam-ravaged communities in the Amazon, one we will see repeated many times over if Brazil continues to pursue its disastrous plans for the region's rivers.
AW's Newest Campaigner Raps to Defend the Amazon
January 23, 2013
We're thrilled to welcome Adam Zuckerman to the Amazon Watch team as our newest Environmental and Human Rights Campaigner. Adam will be working to support indigenous community opposition to new oil concessions in the Western Amazon.
Adam blew us away when he rapped about Amazon Watch and Chevron's nasty legacy during his final hiring interview, and it's just so good we thought we'd share it with you.
Adam hit the ground running in his new role, performing that rap and speaking about Amazon Watch’s Clean up Ecuador Campaign at a protest last Saturday at the Chevron refinery in Richmond.
Adam brings a background in human rights advocacy to Amazon Watch. He spent years organizing with activist diaspora communities, and most recently worked in New York for American Jewish World Service, an international human rights nonprofit. Adam has also spent some time in the Ecuadorian Amazon and is eager to meet our partners and get back into the field in middle Earth.
January 2, 2013 | Branden Barber
Last week the world lost a great friend.
Rebecca Tarbotton, Executive Director of Rainforest Action Network, died in a tragic swimming accident while on vacation with her husband and friends in Mexico on Dec 26th, 2012...a very long week ago. Becky was taken away far too soon, and she was far too young with far too much to accomplish to be removed from our world. And yet in her brief and wonderful life, she achieved so much.
She will be remembered for her remarkable achievements and her significant efforts to make the planet a richer, greener place. From having been part of the Suzuki Foundation's first ringing of the climate change alarm to her work in northern India's Ladakh – to helping push Bank of America to stop funding coal, and finally to helping get Disney to change its publishing business to protect rainforests. (You can read her bio here.)
December 24, 2012 | Paul Paz y Miño
Last Wednesday morning, I opened my front door to take my two small children to preschool and before I could take a step a man shoved subpoena papers at me from Chevron. At that moment, I knew Amazon Watch had been doing something right in our relentless campaign to hold the company accountable for the toxic mess it left in the Ecuadorian Amazon. When a giant corporation like Chevron bothers to subpoena a small nonprofit like Amazon Watch, we know our actions are hitting hard. Never mind their audacity to come to my home, that's the least of their offenses.
Nearly 50 years ago, Texaco (now Chevron) arrived in a pristine region of the Ecuadorian Amazon, and over the course of the next two decades, caused one of the worst oil-related environmental disasters in history. As most readers of this blog know, in February of 2011 Chevron was found guilty in Ecuadorian courts for massive environmental contamination, and fined upwards of $18 billion for its crimes. Instead of owning up to its toxic legacy in the Amazon – a crime which has caused more than a thousand cancer deaths, led to an ongoing public health crisis, and has decimated indigenous cultures – Chevron has decided to "fight the verdict till hell freezes over."
What does a "fight till hell freezes over" strategy look like? Well, it's ugly. It involves high-powered (and unprincipled, often morally depraved) law firms. It involves smart (and equally twisted and cynical) public relations firms. It involves a herd of big-oil lobbyists. It involves near limitless resources (it's estimated that Chevron is spending several hundred million dollars a year to fight the Ecuador lawsuit). And it also involves a plan – in military terms known as "scorched-earth" – to destroy everything and everyone that is valuable to the people of the Ecuadorian Amazon in their pursuit of justice.