Victory for the Achuar in Perú & the Arctic!

In the last week we saw two great victories for nature and cultures. From Amazon Watch we heard the wonderful news that Canadian oil company Talisman Energy withdrew from Achuar territory in Perú. Talisman had been in Achuar territory since 2004 when they began oil exploration and Amazon Watch has been supporting the Achuar since. “We have fought long and hard against Talisman’s drilling in our territory because of the negative environmental and social impacts we have seen from oil drilling around the world,” said Peas Peas Ayui, President of the National Achuar Federation of Peru (FENAP). “Now that Talisman is leaving we can focus on achieving our own vision for development and leave a healthy territory for future generations. We are the owners and the original people of this land. No outside person or company may enter our territory by force, without consultation and without asking us. We have been fighting against oil development on our land for 17 years and we maintain the same vision to protect our territory and resources for future generations. Let this be a clear message to all oil, mining and logging companies: we will never offer up our natural wealth so that they can extract our resources and contaminate our land.”

From Greenpeace we got news that oil company Royal Dutch Shell has halted their oil drilling operations for this year in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas in the Arctic off the coast of Alaska. A dome designed to clean an oil spill was damaged. According to the head of the US Coast Guard, who testified before Congress, if a spill were to happen in Arctic waters, there would be no way to clean it up.

These two incidents make it very clear that we cannot continue to extract resources in fragile areas. And it gives hope for other communities, like the Cofán & Awajún whom we work with and whose territories and livelihoods are affected by extractive industries. We must concentrate on alternatives, so that we can ensure the health of the planet and the rights of people and nature are respected.