Ecuador to replace oil production with Eco-Tourism

A remarkable initiative to protect world's natural equilibrium

South American rainforests represent the largest biodiversity in the world. The Amazonian system, shared by Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and the Bolivia's Northeast, is essential for the earth's survival. If not properly preserved may produce a general disarrangement on world's climate conditions, scientists agree.

That is why, an initiative of the Indigenous Achuar people in Ecuador, is very important for our planet as a whole. The tropical forests are the natural home of this group, providing the Achuar with food, shelter and medicine. They lived without contact with the outside Christian world until the 1960's. However, their aim to protect their home, the Amazon forest, from the advance of the oil companies is enough proof of civilization.

Oil companies, backed by Ecuador's Government, explore the area without taking care of the environment and usually destroy unique animal and plant species. Therefore, threat the fragile equilibrium of the wild life in a very sensitive area as the Amazon forests.

International conservation groups like the World Wildlife Fund - WWF - as well as local partner organizations in South America are actively involved in helping the Indigenous people to protect the Amazon's precious resources from exploitation and destruction. Encouraged by them, the Achuar created a political organization, which stopped oil drilling on their territory and promoted a sustainable activity for the economical development.

An 'eco-lodge' and reserve, developed by a private Ecuadorian tour operator in 1996, aims to protect the rainforest from destruction and to give the Achuar an opportunity to live on their own terms. The name of the project is Kapawi and employs the Achuar people, training them in the skills of eco-tourism so they will be able to take over the management of the lodge in the near future.

Many other projects of this kind may be implemented in those areas where the advance of the machines threats the survival of the mankind. It is also, a good example on how the tactics of the weak can defeat the strategy of the powerful.

Hernan Etchaleco PRAVDA.Ru Argentina

Photo: The Achuar during a local ritual.

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