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The Peruvian Amazon, the fourth largest expanse of tropical rainforest in the world, is home to thousands of indigenous peoples speaking dozens of languages, including some of the last groups living with little or no direct contact with the outside world. Tragically, since 2003 nearly three quarters of the Peruvian Amazon has been leased to the international oil industry for the highest bid. More
Across Peru, headlines have been dominated by the presidential elections. Deep in the Amazon, however, the ongoing trauma caused by oil pipeline spills seeps on. Almost three months following a 2,000-barrel spill in Chiriaco followed by another just days later near Mayuriaga, indigenous communities continue to confront the daily reality of poisoned water, fish and crops.
Around 82 families from the community of Nazareth benefited from the arrival of emergency supplies of essential food and water. The assistance was delivered by ORPIAN President Edwin Montenegro, thanks to the help of everyone who joined the Everyone For the Amazon (#TodosxLaAmazonía) campaign. This initial delivery was also carried out on the Morona River, another area damaged by the oil spills.
As an organization that works to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin, we were thrilled when Kimberly Todd and Valerie Robert, two talented and socially conscious teachers, reached out to us with their curricula and resources for parents and students to take action. They created these unit plans with the goal of providing teachers with resources that meet both the English Common Core Standards and raise awareness about the threats facing the Amazon rainforest and the Indigenous populations living in the Amazon Basin.
Twenty years ago today, our founder Atossa Soltani stood face to face with Fernando Cardoso, then the president of Brazil. Atossa knew then that while indigenous peoples represent only four percent of the world's population, they are the guardians and stewards of 80 percent of the world's biodiversity. That's why she founded Amazon Watch on March 11th, 1996, to both protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples.
Amazon Watch works to protect the rainforest by advancing the rights of indigenous peoples. We work closely with indigenous leaders to help amplify the calls to keep the oil in the ground and stop mega-dams in the Amazon to avoid climate chaos. Defending indigenous rights, territories, living forests and flowing rivers are demonstrably effective solutions to climate change. Together, we are growing the movement to leave all fossil fuels in the ground and promote a just transition to 100% renewable energy.
The saga of Peru’s Amazonian oil spills continues, more than a month after the first rupture in Chiriaco. The fight for clean-up and accountability went to a new level on Monday, as Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio spoke out for the cause to his 35 million social media followers.
The Inter-Ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Amazon (AIDESEP) will meet today with representatives of Petroperu to demand from the company an immediate solution through an effective action plan to the environmental disaster resulting from the most recent spills in Chiriaco and Morona, caused by lack of maintenance of the Northern Peruvian Pipeline.
Children and adults, including some nursing women, immersed themselves in oily water with no protective gear. Before long, many were complaining of headaches, dizziness, blurred vision or nausea. Some still have skin lesions. And although they'd hoped to earn money for school supplies, as classes are due to start in early March, many say they received only the equivalent of a dollar or two for the oil they collected.
Indigenous peoples of Peru's Amazon are responding to the recent spate of oil spills along the Northwestern Peru Pipeline. Primarily, they are pressing the Peruvian government – which runs Petroperu oil company responsible for the pipeline – to urgently attend to the affected communities, to remediate the contaminated rainforest, and to halt use of the pipeline until long-delayed upgrades are carried out.
History is repeating itself in the northern Peruvian Amazon, where three oil spills have been reported along the Northern Peruvian Pipeline since January 25th.