May 1, 2017 (New York) – After marching with Leonardo DiCaprio in the Peoples’ Climate March on Saturday in Washington DC, Amazonian leaders headed to the United Nations today to denounce that the Chinese oil company Andes Petroleum will cause genocide against the Sapara Nation and uncontacted indigenous peoples if it drills in their ancestral territory in the Ecuadorian rainforest.
“The Indigenous Environmental Network is extremely alarmed with President Donald Trump’s announcement of the two Executive Orders setting the stage for approving the dirty energy pipeline projects of the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline. “The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other Sioux Tribes, as sovereign Native nations, were never consulted by Trump or his Administration on this decision that further violates the treaty rights of the Lakota, Nakota, Dakota people. Trump is portraying his true self by joining forces with the darkness of the Black Snake pipelines crossing across the culturally and environmentally rich landscape of the prairie lands of America.
From the onset of this massive pipeline project numerous violations of the FDEP permit by the pipeline companies have occurred along the pipelines routes and were reported to the regulatory agencies without so much as a fine being imposed on Sabal Trail or Florida Southeast Connection fracked gas underground pipelines. Hundreds of our precious wetlands have been dewatered, and all vegetation removed to accommodate a pipeline easement, 100 feet wide, through Alabama, George and Florida. Our Florida Waterbodies now have underground pipelines beneath them, and forested waterbodies, that were dry cut or wet cut crossed, no longer have any vegetation or trees as they once did – changed forever. Any leak or explosion anywhere along the route will have devastating results and possibly catastrophic results to our Floridan Aquifer, waterbodies, springs and caves.
Acción Ecológica, one of Latin America’s most well-known environmental groups, had led the fight against Ecuadoran president Rafael Correa’s plans to expand the mining industry. While the group’s legal status remains up in the air, its more than 20 years of work has had a palpable influence on the country’s socio-environmental movement. The group was founded in 1986, when two Ecuadoran university groups joined forces: one made up of three women majoring in communications, and the other formed by several biologists making a documentary about ecological problems. The organization began by mounting campaigns against the problems associated with oil drilling and, in the 1990s, against the destruction of the manglares (coastal forests). By 1993, their educational and lobbying efforts had grown to include legal action against oil companies.
Dallas Goldtooth, Keep it in the Ground Organizer, Indigenous Environmental Network said: “As a movement to stop this dirty Bakken oil pipeline, we are demonstrating the inherent power of organized communities and mobilized citizens. We are showing Big Oil and government leaders that we know the power of our capital, and as such we collectively choose to invest in life and water, not death and oil. As first peoples of the land and in defense of our Indigenous rights, we will continue to rise, resist, self-determine and divest until the Dakota Access pipeline is nothing but the defeated aspirations of a Energy Transfer Partners’ dream.”
On 18th December, Ecuador’s most prestigious environmental NGO, Acción Ecológica, called for a Peace & Truth Commission to explore the attacks on indigenous and environmental rights. Two days later, the Government announced its intention to close the NGO, which has been operating in Ecuador for 30 years and is largely responsible for the country’s modern environmental movement. This is not the first time that the Government has closed an organisation for disagreeing with its extractivist policies. In 2013, Fundación Pachamama was closed for opposing the auction of 2.6 million hectares of virgin jungle to oil companies.
The Indigenous Environmental Network, its members and affiliates, strenuously protest Ecuador’s Vice Minister of Internal Security’s request that the Minister of Environment close or annul the highly respected Acción Ecologica and terminate its right to operate legally in Ecuador. Ironically, or cynically, the Vice Minister’s actions apparently were prompted precisely because Acción Ecológica was complying with its charter to defend the environment, the rights of Mother Earth and the human and indigenous rights of Indigenous Peoples of Ecuador.
Ecuador became an even more difficult place to be a defender of indigenous rights and the environment. You would think a country with constitutionally-enshrined protections for Mother Nature would support and encourage indigenous and environmental rights defenders, but sadly that is not the case, and it has implications for the global climate change movement.
Letter from the Churches and Mining Network concerning the Shuar Community and the decision of the Ecuadorian Government to close down and dissolve Acción Ecológica. 21 December 2016 (Available in EN and ES)
Members of one of Latin America’s most well-known environmental organisations, Acción Ecológica, are fighting for their survival against a controversial attempt by Ecuador’s government to shut them down.
“In the years following the BP Deep Water Drilling Disaster of 2010, the Obama Administration approved at least 1,200 offshore fracks in the Gulf of Mexico. Since, and without any site-specific testing, the industry has been allowed to dump endless amounts of fracking waste fluid directly into the water,” said Bold Louisiana director Cherri Foytlin, of Rayne, LA. “In 2014 alone, that has translated to an outrageous 76 billion gallons of toxic and hazardous fluids overboard. Recent studies have connected some of these same chemicals to leukemia and endocrine disruption in humans. Now, in his final days in office, we firmly urge the President to correct this, and in doing so protect our sea life and families.”
We were born here in this immense jungle of the Cordillera del Cóndor and on the banks of the Zamora and Santiago rivers. We did not know barbed wire or private property. The State declared that these were uncultivated lands and organized the colonization of our territory with the same conviction and self-legitimacy of any colonizer. When the settlers came to this land we received them well, because we knew that these were poor and hardworking people looking for an opportunity in their lives. From one day to another, large tracts of land no longer belonged to us because they had been sold to people we had never even met.
When regulatory agencies fail to properly exercise their legal obligations it jeopardizes public health and safety, our natural environment, waters, air, and wildlife. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), US Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE), Florida Department of Environment Protection(FDEP) and Water Management Districts approval of the Southeast Market Pipeline Project (Sabal Trail and Florida Southeast Connection Pipelines) represents a failure of regulatory agencies to properly review and monitor a 515.5 mile fracked gas underground pipeline crossing under, over and through some of Florida’s most unique and environmentally sensitive natural areas, critical wildlife habitat and waters.
DENUNCIATION BY THE WOMEN’S AND FEMINIST MOVEMENTS OF ECUADOR OF SEXUAL AGGRESSION AS A STRATEGY OF THE POLITICAL CONTROL OF WOMEN : THE CASE OF ACCIÓN ECOLÓGICA
As organizations and collectives that make up the Ecuadorian women’s and feminist movement, in solidarity with defenders of human rights and of nature, we express our support to the comrade of Acción Ecológica who suffered a sexual attack, and we denounce this which we consider this act as retaliation politics. Indeed, there is clear evidence that it was a planned aggression aimed at punishing, intimidating, and intimidating other activists who appear publicly as leaders who resist the expropriation and exploitation of natural resources on land of Indigenous peoples or peasants of high biodiversity.
The Shuar community of Nankints in Ecuador’s Southern Amazon region was evicted in August 2016 to make way for a Chinese copper mega-mining project. The mining company, through a court order, has claimed these indigenous territories without prior consultation or consent from the affected communities, who have lived there for hundreds of years. The land allocated for the project covers over 41,000 hectares and the forced evacuation of other Shuar communities is expected.
According to the notification of the Ministry of the Interior to the Ministry of the Environment (MDI-VSI-2016-00033), this administrative decision, was taken [because Acción Ecológica] disseminated “the serious environmental impacts and ecosystem that would result from the extractive activity” in the Cordillera del Condor and for denouncing the violation of human rights of the communities living in this area. We must say that it is precisely these objectives for which Acción Ecológica was established, as stated in Article 2 of our statute: “Promote the defense of the rights of Nature in order to ensure the preservation of a healthy environment and achieve the rights of the Good Living, promoting integral respect. “