So what do indigenous rights have to do with us? A lot, it seems. Even if you’re living in Detroit, Moscow, or Beijing - really far away from the Amazon - the way we live our lives impacts indigenous people in the rainforest, especially when it comes to energy consumption.
We need energy to sustain our ways of life – to run our refrigerators, a hot bath, our cars. Nearly 40% of total U.S. energy consumption in 2012 was consumed in residential and commercial buildings; buildings and transportation being the areas with most potential for energy saving.
In recent years, energy consumption has grown exponentially in developing economies such as China or India, while it stagnated in developed countries – albeit at a high level. Although governments, especially in Europe, have pushed a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, such as solar energy, wind power and biofuels, oil and gas still remain the major primary energy sources to power the world’s industries.
With large reserves of oil and gas still underground, the Amazon is at risk for being exploited at the cost of environmental and indigenous rights. In Ecuador, where the Pachamama Alliance works with its indigenous partners, over half of the total oil production went to the United States (2006). Much of the oil comes from projects in sensitive areas, such as Yasuní National Park.
Oil Development in the Amazon has a long and sad history with severe economic, social and health implications for indigenous people. Secondary effects of rainforest destruction and pollution such as water scarcity, food insecurity, waste deposition, and climate change pose further challenges – not only to indigenous communities but also to the entire global population.
Act now – Attend one of our workshops and connect to the Pachamama community to find out more about how our actions influence indigenous rights and what you can do to co-create a just, thriving, and sustainable world.