Editor’s Note: This is a special update from Pachamama Alliance CEO, Bill Twist, on our work with our indigenous partners in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador

Pachamama Alliance has worked to protect the South-Central Amazon region of Ecuador from oil and other extractive industries—at the invitation of the Achuar people and their indigenous neighbors, the Shuar, Kichwa, Sápara, and Shiwiar—for nearly two decades.

Working together with our indigenous partners, we have been able to stave off development despite indigenous lands in this region being auctioned off to oil companies.

I am writing to ask for your support. Your donation today will help us continue to keep oil development out of the South-Central Amazon rainforest of Ecuador.

This equatorial region contains the highest biodiversity concentration in the entire Amazon basin, and possibly in the entire world.

This map shows how biodiversity concentration overlaps on the nearly 8 million acres of territory we have been working to protect these past 20 years. The darker colors and particularly the red represent the highest concentrations of various species of plants, insects, mammals, birds, and others.

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Below is the grid of intended oil development concessions that the government of Ecuador is trying to establish in this area. This is the last place on Earth that we should explore for oil—it’s where oil must be left in the ground.

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Organized resistance of the indigenous communities and support of international environmental justice organizations—especially Pachamama Alliance—have been effective deterrents to oil development. Even though there is a tremendous amount of extractive industry pressure in this area, the tide is beginning to turn.

The petroleum era is over—not immediately but inevitably.

Global momentum is shifting away from fossil fuels and toward clean, renewable energy sources. The recent United Nations climate agreement reached in Paris adds powerful global support to this trend. Investment dollars are beginning to flow to renewable energy, accelerating innovation and lowering costs dramatically. Yet, despite this clear shift and the dramatic drop in the international price of oil, the government of Ecuador is still trying to push oil development into this area.

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It is crucially important that we remain strong with our indigenous allies and stand with them to make sure that a senseless last scramble for oil in this area doesn’t end up scarring cultures that carry wisdom accumulated over thousands of years and doesn’t damage one of the most important sources of life on this planet.

There are powerful interests in Ecuador that can reap handsome short-term profit just from the expansion and building out of fossil fuel infrastructure, regardless of whether in the long term the project makes overall economic sense.

Pachamama Alliance is committed to not let that happen.

With your continued support, as the fossil fuel industry is in its final throes, we can continue to support indigenous people as they stand on the front lines to stop the expansion of the oil frontier into their lands and plan for the permanent protection of this vital area.

Please consider making a year-end donation today.

In partnership,
Bill Twist
Pachamama Alliance CEO