Ecuadorians reject oil drilling in the Amazon in historic decision

by Madison Thomas
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Amazon biodiversity

In an unprecedented move, Ecuadorians have made a historic choice by voting against the extraction of oil from a protected area within the Amazon. This area is not only a sanctuary for two uncontacted indigenous groups but also a hub of biodiversity.

By the early hours of Monday, after counting more than 90% of the votes, it became evident that roughly six out of ten Ecuadorians had opposed the idea of conducting oil exploration activities in Block 44, a section located within the renowned Yasuni National Park. This park is recognized as one of the planet’s most diverse regions. The land is inhabited by the Tagaeri and Taromenani tribes, who lead secluded lives.

Back in 1989, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) labeled Yasuni as a biosphere reserve on a global scale. Encompassing a sprawling area exceeding 1 million hectares (equivalent to 2.5 million acres), the region boasts an impressive collection of 610 bird species, 139 types of amphibians, and 121 varieties of reptiles. Notably, at least three species are found nowhere else but here.

The consequences of this decision deliver a substantial setback to Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso, who had actively supported the idea of oil drilling. He had argued that the income generated from such activities was indispensable to the country’s economy. As a direct result of this referendum, the state-owned oil company, Petroecuador, will be obligated to dismantle its operations within the upcoming months.

This referendum took place simultaneously with the country’s presidential election, which will be resolved through a runoff between two candidates: the leftist Luisa González and the right-wing Daniel Noboa. Ecuador is currently grappling with political instability following the assassination of one of the contenders, Fernando Villavicencio.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Amazon biodiversity

What was the recent decision made by Ecuadorians regarding the Amazon?

Ecuadorians recently voted against conducting oil drilling activities in a protected area within the Amazon rainforest, which is home to uncontacted tribes and rich biodiversity.

What percentage of Ecuadorians rejected the oil drilling proposal?

Around six in ten Ecuadorians, which translates to over 90% of the ballots counted, rejected the idea of oil exploration in the specified area.

What is the significance of Yasuni National Park?

Yasuni National Park is one of the world’s most biodiverse regions, designated a world biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1989. It houses two uncontacted tribes and a wide range of unique plant and animal species.

How does this decision impact Ecuador’s president?

The decision is a setback for President Guillermo Lasso, who supported oil drilling, asserting its economic importance. The vote compels the state oil company to cease its operations in the area.

Was the referendum related to any other event?

Yes, the referendum coincided with Ecuador’s presidential election, marked by a runoff between leftist candidate Luisa González and right-wing contender Daniel Noboa. The country is facing political turmoil due to the assassination of a candidate.

What are the main tags related to this text?

environment, Amazon rainforest, biodiversity conservation, indigenous tribes, oil drilling, referendum, Ecuadorian politics

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