Yasuni Consultation: A Call to Protect the world’s most biodiverse forest against oil exploitation

The Yasuni National Park in Ecuador, the most biodiverse place on Earth and a sanctuary for Indigenous Peoples, faces the looming threat of oil extraction that could devastate its delicate ecosystems. On August 20th the Ecuadorian people will vote  on a groundbreaking consultation process to decide whether to keep exploiting oil or protect this crucial ecosystem and its cultural significance. 

In the heart of Ecuador lies the Yasuni National Park, a treasure trove of biodiversity and a sanctuary for Indigenous People. The Yasuni region has become a focal point of global environmental concern due to its potential for oil extraction, which poses a grave threat to its delicate ecosystems and the livelihoods of its indigenous inhabitants. As the looming decision regarding oil exploitation in Yasuni draws near, the Indigenous Peoples raise their voices in unison to champion the preservation of this invaluable natural wonder.

Yasuni is not just a patch of land; it is a living, breathing testament to Earth’s natural wonders. It boasts unparalleled biodiversity, home to countless plant and animal species found nowhere else on the planet. It is considered to be the most biodiverse place on Earth. This delicate balance sustains intricate webs of life and plays a vital role in maintaining the global climate. The Indigenous Peoples of Yasuni have lived in harmony with this ecosystem for generations, and their stewardship has allowed its incredible diversity to flourish.

However, the lush landscapes of Yasuni now face an imminent threat – the encroachment of oil extraction. While oil exploitation might offer short-term economic gains, the irreversible damage it could inflict on Yasuni’s ecosystems far outweighs any temporary benefits. The process of drilling, infrastructure development, and potential spills could lead to deforestation, soil and water contamination, and disruption of local wildlife habitats. Indigenous Peoples, who have lived sustainably in Yasuni for centuries, are at risk of displacement and loss of their traditional way of life.

The Yasuni region is not only home to well-established indigenous communities but also harbours the rare presence of uncontacted Indigenous Peoples, the Tagaeri and Taromenane. They live in voluntary isolation, maintaining their traditional ways of life and remaining untouched by the modern world. The encroachment of oil exploitation poses an existential threat to these vulnerable populations, as contact with outsiders could introduce diseases to which they have no immunity and disrupt the delicate balance of their existence. 

In a groundbreaking move, a consultation process has been initiated to determine the future of oil exploitation in Yasuni. Indigenous Peoples, who have a deep spiritual connection to the land, are playing a pivotal role in shaping this decision. On August 20th, the people of Ecuador will express their democratic right through a consultation, making their voices heard and shaping the destiny of their homeland.

The Tagaeri, Taromenane,Dugakaeri, Waorani and Kichwa peoples are organised and are calling their nation and the international community to protect the ecuadorian Amazon by voting #SíalYasuni and by supporting their campaign through digital platforms. 

The Yasuni Consultation represents a beacon of hope for the preservation of one of the world’s most remarkable ecosystems. Indigenous Peoples stand at the forefront of this battle, defending their homes, cultures, and the delicate balance of nature. As the world watches, the Yasuni consultation serves as a testament to the power of unity and the collective determination to safeguard our planet’s irreplaceable treasures. Let us stand with the indigenous communities of Yasuni and ensure that this natural wonder remains untouched by the scourge of oil exploitation.

To support Indigenous Peoples in Ecuador, follow the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon and share their message (@confeniae1) and use the hashtag #SíalYasuni.

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