I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

Melting Arctic ice.......beautiful and frightening!

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Oil and the Earth's Inalienable Rights: A Connection?

Pretty, isn't it? But one's perception alters when one realizes it is an oil slick on drinking water.
Per Amnesty International's  (2009) report on Ecuador:
The human rights situation of Indigenous peoples and environmentalists in Ecuador continues to be a serious concern for Amnesty International. For over four decades, Indigenous communities have witnessed multinational oil companies cut through the Ecuadorian Amazon and their ancestral lands in search of the country's vast petroleum resources. Testimonies by members of these communities, verified by independent health studies and reports (including "Amazon Crude" by Judith Kimerling) have described how oil companies have left dead rivers, road-scarred forests, polluted air, and daily discharges of millions of gallons of toxic waste in their wake that are affecting the daily lives of the communities in the area.
Ecuador's citizens approved a novel constitution in September 2008: it extends inalienable rights to nature.
The Utne Reader (May-June 2009) speculates that "Ecuador was almost certainly predisposed to becoming an early adopter of nature's rights on a constitutional scale" due to the large indigenous population. This view may be correct: indigenous peoples do have a different view of their place in nature than we do. However, I think that witnessing the environmental damage done to the environment and consequently to themselves by oil companies may have motivated Ecuadorians in a large degee as well.  

Ecuadorians understand that the economy is a subset of the environment - and that the equation does not work the other way around.  We all need to respect and cherish Pachamamma - for our own sakes.    While it is unlikely that we will approve a similar constitution in in the near future in Canada,  we can pressure politicians to protect the environment.  We are their employers, are we not?  For starters, please email the Right Honorable Stephen Harper and instruct  him to negotiate a fair, binding, and science based deal on greenhouse gas emissions at Copenhagen.

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