yasuni national park indigenous energy drilling
Big Stock Photo

Ecuadorians reject oil drilling in the Amazon, ending operations in protected area

The Associated Press reports that Ecuadorians voted against drilling for oil in a protected area of the Amazon, an important decision that will require the state oil company to end its operations in a region that’s home to two uncontacted tribes and is a hotspot of biodiversity.

In a nutshell:

Home to the Tagaeri and Taromenani tribes, Yasuni National Park was designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1989, spanning over 1 million hectares and boasting an impressive variety of wildlife. Despite President Guillermo Lasso's endorsement of oil exploration, over 60% of Ecuadorians have rejected drilling in Block 43 within Yasuni, posing a challenge to his administration. This outcome forces Petroecuador to dismantle its operations in the near future. The referendum coincided with the presidential election amid the backdrop of political unrest following the assassination of anti-corruption candidate Fernando Villavicencio and growing instability in Ecuador linked to organized crime and drug trafficking.

Key quote:

“Ecuadorians have come together for this cause to provide a life opportunity for our Indigenous brothers and sisters and also to show the entire world, amidst these challenging times of climate change, that we stand in support of the rainforest,” Nemo Guiquita, a leader of the Waorani tribe, told the AP -- noting, however, that many other areas outside of Block 43 remain unprotected.

The big picture:

As Inside Climate News reported recently, a growing movement of civil society groups and Indigenous activists is applying pressure to phase out fossil fuel extraction in the Amazon, which has led to hundreds of spills and proven devastating to environmental and human health. When leaders of the eight Amazon nations met in Brazil earlier this month for a summit on deforestation, campaigners made their presence known, demanding that Indigenous rights to be respected and an end to drilling.

Exposure to pollutants and chemicals associated with oil extraction -- including arsenic, mercury and cadmium -- can lead to respiratory issues, skin disorders and other health complications among isolated communities such as the Tagaeri and Taromenani tribes. Furthermore, the disruption of their traditional way of life, access to clean water sources, and medicinal plants jeopardizes overall physical and mental health as Indigenous people grapple with the enduring impacts of industrial encroachment on their territories.

Review the full article from the Associated Press.

Azerbaijani government criticized for silencing media ahead of climate summit

Azerbaijan faces accusations of suppressing media and activists as it prepares to host the UN Cop29 climate talks in November.

Fiona Harvey reports for The Guardian.

Keep reading...Show less
Senator Whitehouse & climate change

Senator Whitehouse puts climate change on budget committee’s agenda

For more than a decade, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave daily warnings about the mounting threat of climate change. Now he has a powerful new perch.
Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way
Coast Guard inspects Cameron LNG Facility in preparation for first LNG export in 2019. (Credit: Coast Guard News)

Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way

This 2-part series was co-produced by Environmental Health News and the journalism non-profit Economic Hardship Reporting Project. See part 1 here.Este ensayo también está disponible en español
Keep reading...Show less

FERC authorizes Mountain Valley Pipeline operations

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved Equitrans Midstream Corp. to commence operations on the Mountain Valley Pipeline, concluding years of regulatory and legal challenges.

Catherine Morehouse reports for POLITICO.

Keep reading...Show less

Copper recycling increases as demand soars

Copper manufacturers in Montreal are boosting recycling efforts to meet rising demand.

Jennifer McDermott reports for The Associated Press.

Keep reading...Show less

GOP accuses Wall Street firms of climate collusion

House Republicans released a report accusing major investment firms of colluding with climate groups to push for environmentally friendly investing, sparking a new controversy over ESG practices.

Rachel Frazin reports for The Hill.

Keep reading...Show less
toxic urban oilfields
Credit: Brook Lenker/FracTracker Alliance/Flickr

Toxic gas leaks from Texas oil fields continue unchecked

In Texas, thousands of residents are exposed to dangerous levels of hydrogen sulfide from oil and gas wells, with regulators failing to address the health risks.

Will Evans, Caroline Ghisolfi, and Amanda Drane report for The Examination.

Keep reading...Show less

Clean air and water amendment delayed in California

A proposed amendment to California’s Constitution that would guarantee the right to clean air and water has been postponed for another year due to a lack of legislative progress.

Hayley Smith reports for The Los Angeles Times.

Keep reading...Show less
From our Newsroom
planetary health diet

This diet will likely keep you alive longer — and help the planet

New research finds the Planetary Health Diet lowers our risk to most major causes of death.

environmental justice

LISTEN: Jose Ramon Becerra Vera on democratizing science

“In their own way, they’re becoming experts, not just of their experiences but also of the data collection process.”

The oil and gas industry’s radioactive problem: Q&A with Justin Nobel

The oil and gas industry’s radioactive problem: Q&A with Justin Nobel

“Of all the levels of radium in produced water or brine around the world that I’ve looked at, I have encountered none that are consistently as high as what comes out of the Marcellus Shale.”

environmental justice pittsburgh

Environmental justice advocates find hope, healing and community in Pittsburgh

Advocates and researchers gathered to not only discuss ongoing fights but victories, self-care and cautious optimism about the path ahead.

Stay informed: sign up for The Daily Climate newsletter
Top news on climate impacts, solutions, politics, drivers. Delivered to your inbox week days.