Energy Security: Ecuador - economic development vs biodiversity

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  • Created on: 30-03-13 11:04
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Ecuador: four months to save the world's last great wilderness from `oil
The KEY CONFLICT is economic development (massive oil field worth $7-10 billion) versus
biodiversity (a pristine ecosystem) ­ extracting the oil would devastate one of the last great
wildernesses; the park is thought to have more species of plants, animals and insects per hectare
than anywhere else on earth.
Arguments for extracting the oil:
It could provide the country with its last chance to develop in the traditional 20th century
way, by building roads and industrialising.
The money can create a positive multiplier effect ­ used for housing, infrastructure, health,
education etc.
Arguments against extracting the oil:
Releasing 400 tonnes of climate changing CO2
It would lead to contamination, deforestation, extinction of cultures and the destruction of
social cultures.
Villages would have to be constructed, pipelines laid and millions of tonnes of contaminated
waste buried.
The oil industry also inevitably attracts corruption, violence and social problems.
The money inevitably leaks out to oil super TNC's
Many believe that the oil industry has not brought development ­ it has just brought
immense contamination and environmental destruction.
A solution?
Acosta and the ministry came up with a revolutionary idea to leave the oil in the ground but
the MEDC's must pay cash for conservation! This plan was backed strongly by powerful
indigenous groups in the country, as well as the many social movements and the public.
Polls showed that 90% of the Ecuadorian people backed this plan and it was endorsed by the
"The money from the world can be used to protect Ecuadors other national parks, including
the Galapagos islands."
"We must understand that oil is unsustainable. Climate change is a limit and we cant
continue to burn oil" ­ we need a massive attitudinal fix.
"What we have learnt is that while we can't live without nature, it can live
without us.


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