Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Indigenous peoples have called for the suspension of all resource extraction in the Amazon.
Big oil, mining, logging and other extractive industries helped the virus spread into Indigenous territories, making people sick and killing their elders. For too long heads of state have listened to corporations rather than to Indigenous communities, which has led to loss of biodiversity, runaway climate change, raging fires, and now extreme illness. In the face of multiple crises, leaders have failed to act.
Right now in Ecuador, two of the Amazon’s most precarious oil pipelines are on the brink of rupture for the second time this year. A spill could happen any day due to unaddressed erosion, sending contamination downriver into Peru and Brazil. Why are they still pumping? Where is the justice for Indigenous communities whose rivers and soils were poisoned? Every avoidable disaster caused by extraction is another blow to the Amazon rainforest, Indigenous peoples, and our climate.
You can see the power of the Indigenous movement in recent groundbreaking wins across the world— from the victory at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline to the Waorani victory against oil drilling in the Pastaza region of Ecuador. However, governments and corporations are continuing to exploit the world’s resources at alarming rates with great risk to Indigenous peoples.
Around the world, Indigenous movements are fighting back and winning. From Standing Rock, USA to Pastaza, Ecuador, Indigenous peoples are demonstrating their resilience and power to confront injustice and protect their ancestral lands.
Today I stand with the Indigenous movement in calling for immediate action to shut off the hazardous oil pipelines in Ecuador and suspend extraction across the Amazon until safety is restored and justice is served.