Social injustices are prevalent throughout the globe. This complex topic occurs in many different forms and with varying degrees motivation.
Ingenious tribes in South America are all are too familiar with the social injustices that accompany the desire for excess profit. Below are a couple cases of indirect and direct social injustices that are occurring in South America as a result of rampant consumerism.
Lago Agrio is the location of a legal conflict that has lasted a decade. Lago Agrio, located in the Sucumbíos province of northeastern Ecuador, was originally home to numerous indigenous tribes until the area caught the attention of American oil drillers in the late 1960s. The large oil reserve that existed underneath the jungle floor possessed an immense value to the ever growing industrialized world and so the drilling began.
Texaco oil company played the lead role in oil mining in the area for a substantial amount of time. The oil mining resulted in environmental contamination due to leakage in pipelines as well as well as open oil pits that were allegedly abandoned. The lawsuit was created to ensure that Texaco oil company took responsibility for the damages inflicted on the environment and the health of local inhabitants. Studies showed an increase in cancer rates, which is believed to be the product of water contamination by the freed oil.
Chevron inherited this lawsuit when it bought out Texco in the early 2000’s. In February 2011, the Ecuadorian court upheld an $8.9 billion ruling in favor of the Lago Agrio, which subsequently doubled when Chevron ignored the apology clause of the ruling.
Chevron has yet to pay the fine and is attempting to appeal the ruling based on alleged corruption and fraud within the Ecuadorian government.
The Achuar are an indigenous tribe that has lived deep in the Amazon rainforest for thousands of years. Until recent decades they were entirely isolated and self-reliant. Their strong connection and respect for their land allowed for them to live in perfect harmony with nature.
The Achuar place great value on their dreams and their spiritual connection with nature. It was their dreams that initially cautioned them of a looming threat. Oil companies were drilling in the homes of their neighboring tribes and the destruction was all too evident. In the hopes of saving their home the Achuar reached out to the very same world that was responsible for their threatened existence, the “modern world”.
The partnership between the Achuar and the modern world is immortalized with The Pachamama Alliance. Epitomizing social equality, The Pachamama Alliance fights for the human rights that the Achuar and all other indigenous tribes are entitled to.
The Pachamama Alliance tackles the threat of big oil in the Amazon from two fronts, at ground-zero and at home base. Our organization provides the Achuar with the necessary tools to aid in their fight against big oil directly, while also seeking to change the view of the modern world that is responsible for the value placed on oil.
Oil drilling creates a toxic environment, which destroys the basic human rights that all people deserve. In order to end these social injustices a universal change in mentality is essential. The Pachamama Alliance aims to inspire this change by spreading the knowledge of these social injustices and the benefits of active decision making.