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Tuesday, 07 May 2013 08:01

Big Oil May Destroy World's Largest Rain Forest and Accelerate Global Warming

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rainforestFINALThe Rainforests are the lungs of the earth.—Pablo Neruda


Deus Ex Machina:  Something that appears suddenly and unexpectedly and provides a solution to an apparently insoluble difficulty.


Please watch this video clip that aired on NBC Nightly News about the plans to obliterate 8 million acres of Ecuador’s pristine Rainforest for oil in exchange for the debt Ecuador owes from loans: Tribes in Ecuador will fight Rainforest auction, NBC’s Ann Curry reports.


The Wauroni tribes, who live in the forests of Ecuador, are getting ready to challenge the Ecuadorian government’s plan to sell as much as 8 million acres of Rainforest for oil drilling, saying they are prepared to fight to the death (with pea-shooters) to protect the land.


If I were Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffet, George Soros…, I would implore my wealthy friends to do the most monumental rescue plan of their lifetimes: End this Faustian bargain by paying Ecuador’s debt to China, and whatever else they owe, (estimated $5-7 billion dollars) and save the last pristine Rainforest for the preservation of our existence.  They could probably write it off as a charitable contribution.


Naïve? Perhaps, but does anyone else have a better idea?  The clock is ticking.  It’s a lot of money, granted, but to put this in perspective, the U.S. government spends that much a month on military operations.  Money is the answer.  And so asking billionaires to ban together to save Ecuador’s Rainforest from oil exploration and pollution is worth a shot.  It’s worth contacting the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the George Soros Foundation to protect rare medicinal plants for incurable illnesses unique to Ecuador’s Rainforest, and the Clinton Foundation Climate Change the former President devotes 70 percent of his lecture time on solutions to global warming, Michael Bloomberg has acknowledged toxic water problems from gas drilling (fracking).  The Google team has invested heavily in green technologies—the list goes on.  There are affluent members of our society that are responsible citizens; believe it or not, those two assertions are not always mutually exclusive—unless you’re talking about insanely greedy thugs such as the Koch brothers.


As for Deus Ex Machina, certain environmental organizations need to clean up their own act and atone for secretly investing in oil shares rather than green energy; they need to put their fair share of money in the pot to protect Ecuador’s Rainforest.  They need to immediately step in and save the day.  Read all about their “industrial investment sins” in Naomi Klein’s: Time for Big Green to Go Fossil Free


Unfortunately, most billionaires, including Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, have also invested in oil shares.  However, Gates and Buffet have discussed the threat of global warming at several college campus speaking engagements.  This is their chance to do something monumental, something that they can boast about when they discuss the challenges of climate change.  By saving Ecuador’s Rainforest, the earth will be able to recover from global warming when the polluting sources of energy are replaced with clean energy. But if that Rainforest, eight million acres of it, is destroyed, it is the equivalent of removing the heart and lungs from the body of the earth.  We desperately need the rain, the diversity, the wildlife, the medicinal plants, the water, the forests to cleanse the air, to provide rain cycles and oxygen. 


Moreover, what is terribly heartbreaking is to see the natives, indigenous people, who’ve lived happily in Ecuador’s Rainforest for centuries, generation after generation—that they will try to fight the military forces with pea-shooters is tragic.  It reminds me of the film Avatar, only this is the real thing, and these are innocent and defenseless mothers, fathers, and children.  In other words, Ecuador’s military will ruthlessly squash these people like ants.


 If China and if the U.S. oil companies have their way when we are facing a global warming crisis, there will be no future.  The science supports this predictable fate.  No living species or plants can survive in temperatures and droughts on this planet that exceed 130-150 degrees or more.   Temperatures have risen to 115 degrees in the last few summers in the U.S. and globally. This is not hyperbole.  It’s not even a matter of coping with a “new normal”: we’re talking existential survival.  The Arctic ice is rapidly melting and will soon vanish within the next two summers. 


It is complete insanity to allow a small group of industrialist-oligarchs to determine the fate of our demise.  We have a right to life.  The Rainforest is that  fundamental to preserving our survival.  


As constitutional professor Jonathon Turley explained in his March 2013 editorial, Ecuador To Sell China More Than Three Million Hectares Of Pristine Amazonian Rainforest For Oil Development:


 “The cost will not just be felt by these tribes. The destruction of these rainforests will contribute to global warming and accelerate the loss of species. Those species will not only reduce diversity in this world but many likely hold medical and scientific breakthroughs. We have found key treatments for diseases and illnesses in such rare species. In other words, we are slitting our own throats in the loss of these areas.”


Boaventura de Sousa Santos discussed the problems-challenges of drilling oil for revenue in his Truthout.org article if it is taken to the extreme as in the case of Ecuador:


“Most of all, it constitutes an ongoing assault on the indigenous and peasant populations where those resources are to be found, as their waters get polluted; their ancestral rights are disregarded; international law - which requires that local populations be consulted – is violated; people are expelled from their lands and community leaders are murdered. Just last week, we heard of the murder of Sabino Romero, a great indigenous leader from the Sierra de Perija (Venezuela) to whose struggle I have lent my solidarity for many years now. Will Chávez's successors know how to tackle this issue?”


Given Chavez’ awareness of global warming, it’s highly unlikely that he would have allowed for the total devastation of a pristine Rainforest that in essence sustains our survival.


The only thing that can save Ecuador’s Rainforest is money.   International environmental groups and billionaires, the Clinton Foundation, Al Gore, and all those who still have consciences can ban together and save this last sacred Rainforest—and by doing so—they will actually be saving our lives, our future, and protecting the survival of diverse species and medicinal plants.  In other words: for five or seven billion dollars, they will preserve life on this planet.   I think that’s a pretty good bargain.  They could protect it as a Wildlife Sanctuary.


Lastly, China shouldn’t go down in history for destroying the last pristine Rainforest in the world:  China is the leading developer of green energy technologies; their advancement of affordable solar panels, wind turbines and electric vehicles is impressively awesome, an exemplar for a New World.  China has the ingenuity and money to shift from dirty energy to their massive green energy powers, and China’s leaders can prove to the world, especially to the U.S., that it can be done.


Read Solar Is Going To Change The World Much Faster Than People Realize.


If not now, there will be no when.  Imagine a world that has been completely liberated from pollution?  It’s frustrating because we are so close to the goal.  Even the Pentagon wants to shift to solar for the operation of their equipment and vehicles without the burden and limitations of oil dependence.  Furthermore, when they have to suck the tar from rocks, a far more polluting process to the environment than drilling, you know that the oil industry is desperate, desperate because oil is a limited source, unlike the sun that provides unlimited energy.


There is no such thing as safe oil drilling as we’ve learned from BP’s massive toxic oil catastrophe, the worst oil spill in history, literally turned the Gulf of Mexico into a “dead zone”.   Those smiley-face BP ads are all PR deceptions.  The Gulf fishing industry is barely alive, almost dead.  Tourism is struggling:   What BP Doesn’t Want You to Know About the 2010 Gulf Spill / The 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill was even worse than BP wanted us to know   And recently Exxon-Mobil’s horrific tar sands spill in Missouri. CBS reported after the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster that there are on the average at least 18 oil spills that pollute our water and lands eighteen times a day across the country, but are rarely reported.  Proof: no more news on the Exxon/Mobil spill, wiped off the media radar because the oil industry bullies photo journalists with threats of arrest. 


If polluting energy sources suddenly vanished from our earth, watch how fast all the green technology companies would step in to replace dirty energy under an emergency plan.  Humans are resourceful, and generally speaking, they are good at heart. To one animal abuser there are hundreds of animal lovers.  Good prevails—but our media exaggerates brutal acts of violence and divisiveness for ratings more than acts of sympathy, generosity and unity.  No one wants to see this beautiful Rainforest turned into a toxic oil pit.  I have no doubt that we, the international communities, and the affluent members of our society could transform our earth from a hot, polluted hell to a world of clean skies, oceans, forests, and quiet highways.


We need to preserve Ecuador’s Rainforest to get there…


Note: Rainforest is intentionally capitalized in this piece to denote that which is sacred or Higher than ourselves.


(Photo: Phil P. Harris)




Jacqueline Marcus taught philosophy at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, California. Her book of poems, Close to the Shore, was published by Michigan State University Press. She is the editor of www.ForPoetry.comThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.