Environment

Ecuador Will Sell One-Third Of Its Amazon Rainforest To Chinese Oil Companies

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San Rafael Falls, in the Amazonian foothills of the Andes, Ecuador

Image: Shutterstock/Dr. Morley Read

Ecuador Will Sell The Amazon Rainforest To Chinese Oil Companies

The Amazon rainforest is about to be auctioned off. And not for the purpose of preservation or as a wildlife sanctuary, but rather, Ecuador will sell the Amazon rainforest to Chinese oil companies. The country will auction off three million of its 8.1 million hectares of precious Amazon forest. These plans continue even after Ecuador’s neighbor Peru declared an environmental state of emergency in its northern Amazon forest due to oil pollution.

Unfortunately, Ecuador is in debt to China. The country owes more than $7 billion dollars. Since 2009, China has been loaning Ecuador money in return for oil. In addition, China helped fun two of Ecuador’s biggest hydroelectric infrastructure projects. China National Petroleum Corp is likely to have a 30% stake in Ecuador’s $10 billion oil refinery.

Ecuador is severely dependent on China for its country’s development. This is why Ecuador is putting environmental and social regulations on the back burner.

Seven different indigenous groups reside in this area of the Amazon forest, and they are not happy about this recent news that Ecuador will sell the Amazon rainforest to Chinese oil companies. Just last year, the court ruled that governments are required to obtain “free, prior, and informed consent” from the native people before approving activities involving oil on their indigenous land. Unsurprisingly, the government has not even consulted the people. In fact, the indigenous people living in the Pastaza river basin have been complaining about pollution for decades. This pollution is caused by high levels of petroleum-related compounds in the area.

Since this offering is of political and economical benefit, the indigenous people’s concerns are unrealistic to China and the Ecuadorian government. The indigenous residents gathered to write an open letter telling investors they do not have permission to exploit their land since the government hasn’t consulted them first. But Ecuadorian officials have already met with big oil companies in Beijing, and the voices of the residents of the Amazon forest will not be heard.

We can’t help but sigh when comparing the progress of the Paris Climate Talks with China’s thirst for more energy. This auction emphasizes China’s role as number one in the global environmental toll.

Kate Wilke is the content manager at 301brands, and she's the editor of DailyBeautyHack.com, and the lifestyle editor at OhMyVeggies.com. When she's not paddle boarding or skiing, she's informing someone about global warming (or cats) over a local double IPA. Follow her on Instagram — @kateewilke