21 October 2012

Day 122: Poor Villagers Cursed with Riches - the AMAZON

Allow me to introduce you to Sani Isla. Deep into the heart of the Amazon rainforest, you can still find untouched land. Sani Isla is a 70 000 ha area of such land, inhabited by a community of only 422 locals. The biodiversity in Sani Isla is mind-blowing - to give you some reference: scientists say that 1ha in this region contains a greater biodiversity than the whole of North America together! Talk about paradise...

Two generations ago the locals were simply living their merry lives, hunting with blowpipes to provide for themselves. Currently, the locals are engaged in promoting ecotourism, trying to raise their income through an eco-lodge, where tourists come and are educated about life in the rainforest.

Sounds lovely, yes - but here's the thing:

Oil firm PetroAmazonas is pressuring the locals to grant them exploration rights in the area. In return, they promised the villagers cash, new schools, a new eco-lodge, better healtchare and university education for their children - and 'all' they have to do is accept plans for a seismic survey.

But obviously - everyone knows, that if oil is indeed found, the activities won't stay with just 'peaceful' exploring, they will take it to the next level, sweet-talk the villagers again to be able to also extract the oil, so that they can actually sell the stuff. The firm promised to 'minimise' the impact on the environment - but realistically: they'd be cutting paths and building roads, which leads more people to the area, which leads to more land being destroyed for agricultural purposes. Also - the freshwater ecosystems will be polluted, compromising the integrity of the forest's support system.

The locals are very tempted to agree with the deal, beacause their eco-lodge is not raising enough income. But imagine what is asked of them: to give up one of the few places in the world that has not yet been fucked up by people. An Ecuadorean shaman and his British wife are going to door-to-door trying to dissuade the villagers from giving up their land. And that's all the resistance this Oil Company is facing. Where is the international community, where are all the governments, where are all the NGOs saying: ENOUGH! FUCK OFF! THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE! No - just two people... kill them and nothing more stands in the firm's way - and there actually is a growing number of reports of activists being killed in the area.

I mean - this is an issue that concerns everyone - the WHOLE WORLD - how is it possible that a company is legally able to just walk up to the villagers and say 'look, give us your land and we'll give you all this stuff in return'. This land is not only to do with the villagers and not only to do with the firm - it is part of the world's ecosystem and one of the last examples we have left of what nature is supposed to be like in its fullest glory.

And - how brainwashed by money are we if, in order to make money, we'll maim the Earth - destroying a peace of paradise, instead of just investing in alternative fucking power-sources. It's not that difficult! And if we all just stop producing 50 variations of the same thing, instead of just one: the best one - we'll save so much on electricity, we won't need to go and dig up the Amazon forest to find more oil. Really - how stupid are we?!

The couple are loaning the villagers money to keep the eco-lodge afloat. It makes sense, of course, that if the villagers were supported through having their basic requirements met, as the firm is promising to do - then they wouldn't be tempted to consider their offer. Now, because the villagers are struggling in a capitalistic world, where they are not managing to meet ends - they carry the burden of having to choose between the welfare of their own children, or attempting to preserve a piece of the world that the world in its entirety needs.

In an Equal Money System - everyone would be taken care of, and as such, no-one can be bribed or pressured with promises of wealth - because everyone will already be wealthy - as such, each person can stand strong in not accepting or allowing anything less than what's best for all. And of course, in an Equal Money System - the firm wouldn't have been looking for oil in the first place - efforts would, instead, be made to develop renewable power-sources, because no profit can be made from oil extraction. So - this whole scenario would just not occur...

What are we waiting for? The rainforest can't hold out much longer...
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