More About Sarayaku
As in other parts of the Amazon, the Ecuadorian government imposed oil concession blocks in Sarayaku territory without their permission. They only learned that their land had been opened for oil exploration when the helicopters arrived, followed by the men with guns. But instead of becoming another story of pollution and devastation, the story of Sarayaku has been one of resistance. More
Last month in direct violation of its own laws on "free, prior, and informed consultation" Ecuadorian government officials and oil company technicians entered oil blocks 74 and 75 in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon, without informing many of the communities whose ancestral territory the blocks overlap, in what appears to be part of a plan to pull apart the Kichwa territory in the Bobonazo river basin.
In May, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang visited South America and indigenous leaders from the Ecuadorian Amazon urged him not to drill for oil in their territory. In 2013, Li promised to use an "iron fist" to punish companies that destroy the environment. Support indigenous communities, ask Li to live up to his promise and to cancel China's plans to drill the Amazon.
This week Amazon Watch was proud to host a pioneering Climate Equity Strategy Session in partnership with the Sierra Club and the Hillary Institute, where representatives from indigenous and frontline communities, international NGOs, and climate and energy experts discussed the challenges and opportunities of keeping fossil fuels in the ground in the Americas.
Observing the mountains on a sunny afternoon in the Amazon, my home, I began to reflect on the past few months I have spent on the road as an active voice advocating for the defence of indigenous territories, our rights and the rights of the future generations who have an inherent right to live in a healthy world. We all do.
This week hundreds of representatives from five indigenous nationalities came together in a special assembly to defend their Amazon territory from oil, mining, logging, destructive dams and the commodification of nature.
It costs only $.03 per acre per year to support Amazon Watch's work with indigenous peoples to protect more than 60 million acres of rainforest from oil development and mega-dams. Please join us!
The people of Sarayaku are a leading force in 21st century indigenous resistance, engaging the western world politically, legally, and philosophically.February 12, 2015Yes! Magazine
Sarayaku lies in southern Ecuador, where the government is selling drilling rights to a vast swath of indigenous lands – except for Sarayaku. The community has become a beacon of hope to other indigenous groups and to global climate change activists as it mobilizes to stop a new round of oil exploration.
COP20 Lima and a call to action in 2015December 24, 2014
Earlier this month, the world's eyes were on Lima as 196 nations debated what to do about climate change at the UN COP20 climate summit. While world leaders debated, negotiated, signed and didn't sign agreements, Amazon Watch and our allies sounded the alarm on the critical importance of the Amazon rainforest and indigenous ancestral territories in maintaining climate stability.
I walk a small path, surrounded by an infinite number of trees, plants and the scent of flowers. My lungs fill with pure, fresh air when I take a deep breath. My bare feet touch the ground, damp from yesterday's rain. This is my home. This is where I grew up. This is what I want to share with my children one day.
Felipe Jacome's set of photos Amazon: Guardians of Life documents the struggles of indigenous women defending the Ecuadoran Amazon through portraits combined with the powerful written testimonies.