The dog gets it in the Ecuadorian Rainforest as rich countries don't pick up the tab to save it

the dog gets it
Screen capture National Lampoon 1973

When I last used this image I was seriously attacked for animal cruelty so I use a larger portion of it showing context. It's what passed for a meme in 1973, a National Lampoon cover that has been quoted ever since, such as in Ecuador Says Show Me the Money, Or the Rainforest Gets It.

That's the deal Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa offered the world. Jesse described it:

His proposal: instead of us extracting the oil (which, by the way, happens to sit under a fantastically biodiverse rainforest) and selling it to you, we'll leave it untouched - and sell you the right to emit the carbon dioxide that we save.

It was a controversial plan; many considered it a shakedown. Others thought it was a wonderful idea, calling it a "rare win-win situation... economic efficiency at its finest." In our survey, Paying Ecuador To Not Drill The Yasuni: Extortion Or Sound Conservation Practice? the great majority of TreeHugger readers thought it was a good idea.

Unfortunately, the rich countries that could have ponied up the dough didn't; carbon offsets fell out of favor, nobody was quite sure what would happen with the money, and only $13 million was raised instead of the $3.6 billion sought by Correa. So he has pulled the plug and the dog gets it. He is quoted in the Guardian:

"The world has failed us," Correa said in a nationally televised speech. He blamed "the great hypocrisy" of nations who emit most of the world's greenhouse gases. "It was not charity that we sought from the international community, but co-responsibility in the face of climate change."

Lloyd Alter/ oil company trucks just outside of Yasuni/CC BY 2.0

Puleeze, let's talk about who the hypocrites are here. I was in the Yasuni with the Rainforest Alliance and saw serious progress among the Kichwa peoples to set up eco-tourism programs that would help preserve the rainforest. I also saw the signs of the oil companies everywhere in the area.

Kichwa-run lodge just outside the Yasuni/CC BY 2.0

The Guardian notes that people are not happy, and that there are alternatives:

Indigenous and environmental groups in Ecuador have said that any decision on the fate of Yasuni should be made in a national referendum. Patricio Chavez, director of the environmental group Amazonia por la Vida, criticised Correa for leaving potential donors a single option: "Pay or we drill."

Yasuni is not the only oil drilling that Correa's government plans in the rainforest. He is also seeking to auction oil concessions in 13 blocks of 770 square miles each south of Yasuni, closer to the border with Peru.

Such beautiful country, such wonderful people, such a tragedy.

See many more posts in related links to the left.

Tags: Ecuador | Oil