Oil and Mining Threaten “Protected” Rainforests
Protected areas are a vital part of any long-term strategy to maintain global biodiversity and ecosystems. Nonetheless, the problems with protected areas as defined, practiced and espoused by Western nations are many and well-known. Too often relatively benign uses of habitats by indigenous peoples are not viewed as part of what is to be protected. Traditional uses can, if skillfully designed and implemented, continue in a protected area. And obviously, way too frequently, protections are in name only. Most protected areas are anything but, as illegal activities and “exemptions” to their preserved status proliferate.
All too often local needs are confused with industrial greed – and protected areas are opened to precisely the types of development their status should preclude. In particular, oil and mining threaten virtually every protected area in the world. What is the use of “protection” if economic use always outweighs ecological necessity? The western lead economic growth machine is hell bent to drill, mine and log in every natural habitat on the Planet – releasing every last bit of carbon into the atmosphere as possible – before exploring alternative economic arrangements. Forests.org has been in the forefront of unveiling industrial threats to officially protected areas, most recently in Ecuador's ultradiverse Yasun