Great news for those in support of the Amazon – NBC’s Rock Center recently aired a story on Ecuador’s XI Oil Round, emphasizing the millions of acres of pristine Amazon rainforest and the indigenous nations currently at risk as Ecuador’s government moves forward with its plan to allow oil development in the region.

The coverage includes interviews with a number of individuals offering varying perspectives on oil development in Ecuador including Waorani and Quichua tribal leaders, and Ecuador’s Vice President, Lenín Moreno.

Defending the XI Oil Round, Moreno states, “If Ecuador were in a position to provide for all the needs of its people, we would be happy not to exploit it. However, that is not the case.”

Also interviewed was Boston University Biology Professor Kelly Swing, who has set up a research center in the rainforest. He states, “We [Americans] are definitely guilty in the story. No matter how remotely removed we are from what is going on here, the U.S. citizens are at least a portion of the problem here.”

The United States is the number one importer of oil from Ecuador.

At bottom, observes Swing, the XI Oil Round is a human rights issue. It is that, but it is arguably something much more. The Amazon plays a crucial role in the balance of Earth’s biosphere. And for that reason, it is not just the indigenous nations who have lived in the rainforest since time immemorial who stand to lose if the Amazon is destroyed.

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