The first country in the world write the 'rights of nature' or 'Pachamama' into its constitution is now being decimated by mining companies, argues JOHN SEED of The Rainforest Information Centre. The people of Ecuador, their government and the international community need to work together to preserve the country's unique ecosystems
A recent academic study examined the data relating to growth in mining exports and the growth in environmental conflicts across Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. The correlation is almost perfect. MARIO PEREZ-RINCON and NICK MEYNEN examine how 'victims' of such conflict can become environmental ‘warriors’.
Ecuador is the latest country to tear up 'free trade' agreements that have so far cost the country $21 billion in damages awarded to foreign companies by 'corporate courts', and yielded next to nothing in return, writes Nick Dearden. So the outgoing President Correa did the only sensible thing: in one of his final executive acts this month, he scrapped 16 toxic trade and investment treaties.
Ecuador's 'socialist' President Correa has unleashed a wave of repression at Andean communities seeking to protect their lands, forests and nature from open pit mining, writes Carlos Zorrilla. With most of biodiversity-rich Intag region conceded to international mining companies, the mood is one of rising fear and desperation in the countdown to next month's election.
In law, the Shuar Arutam People of Ecuador's Amazon control their ancestral forests. But the government has allocated more than 38% of their territory to large-scale mining, and a gigantic hydroelectric dam is about to be built. Peaceful resistance has been met with a violent military occupation against a People whose only demand, set out in this Open Letter, is peace and justice.
The opposition of Ecuador's Shuar People to large scale mining and hydroelectric development in their ancestral forests has triggered a full-scale military occupation of their lands in the Amazon cloud forest, writes Jake Ling, accompanied by a surge in state-sponsored murder and violence - for which Chinese and Canadian mining companies must share responsibility.
The rights of nature and of indigenous communities are enshrined in Ecuador's constitution, writes Kevin Koenig. But down in the Amazon the government is going full speed ahead with oil extraction on indigenous territories whose owners are committed to keeping their forests and waters pollution-free. A mighty battle is brewing that looks certain to come to a head this year.
At its Spring Conference in Harrogate yesterday the Green Party of England & Wales gave formal recognition to the Rights of Nature in an overwhelming vote, committing it to passing a new law to that effect at the earliest opportunity.
The defence secretary, 'comedians' on BBC Radio's News Quiz, and the entire media commentariat have ganged up this weekend up to pour mockery and poisonous lies over Julian Assange and the UN's human rights jurists, writes Jonathan Cook. As they attempt to fight off the UN's 'guilty' verdict against the British state, they are putting dissidents at risk everywhere.
The endemic giant tortoises discovered by Charles Darwin on Floreana and Pinta islands in the Galápagos are extinct, write Luciano Beheregaray & Adalgisa 'Gisella' Caccone. But scientists have found that their genes live on in newly discovered hybrids on other islands. A selective breeding programme now aims to recreate the originals, and return them to their native islands.
It was all going so well for Chevron - a New York court had ruled that a $9.5 billion judgment against it set by Ecuador's supreme court for massive pollution deep in the Amazon was corrupt and fraudulent. But then its star witness broke ranks and admitted, in another court, that he had lied, and the only bribes were coming from Chevron. Will Ecuador's pollution victims finally get justice?
European retailers have imposed 'ethical' certification processes on their banana suppliers, writes Rachel Smith. But reports from Ecuadorian plantations reveal serious weaknesses in the schemes that leave workers poisoned and abused. To get to the truth, inspectors must dig deeper, and make surprise visits.
After 20 years of oil spills, deforestation, waste dumping and ill health, farmers and indigenous people in the the Ecuadorian Amazon have been fighting the Chevron-Texaco corporation. But despite its three times conviction and a $9.5 billion damages award to the victims, the oil giant looks no closer to making good its damage.
Residents of Ecuador's Galápagos islands are mounting angry protests against government plans to open the World Heritage Site to foreign investment in luxury tourism and hotels, writes Jane Shaw. They fear for the fragile ecology of the islands, for water shortages caused by golf courses and swimming pools, and for their livelihoods which depend on current 'low intensity' tourism.
Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, has personally attacked eco-defender Carlos Zorrilla in TV broadcasts for resisting a vast new copper mine in a precious area of pristine cloud forest, and opposing the advance of oil exploration into the Amazon. Fearful for his life, Zorilla is now seeking international support for his, and his community's, battle for land, water and the natural world.
Left wing governments across the Americas are faced with a dilemma, writes Daniel Macmillen - high social spending programs financed by income from destructive mining and hydrocarbon extraction - or a slower but sustainable development path that puts ecology, equity and justice first. Their answer - a constant pushing back of the resource frontier.
The oil and gas industry is disrupting communities and damaging ecosystems worldwide, writes David Poritz. Tough, independent social and environmental standards for the industry can bring urgently-needed improvements to company practices - even where government regulation has failed.