EcoInternet Hails Victory Protecting Virunga National Park and Gorillas from SOCO Oil
Vital precedents set that rainforests and oil don’t mix, global people power can protect local ecosystems, and all remaining old-growth forests must be protected from industrial development
By EcoInternet – http://EcoInternet.org/
British oil company SOCO International has cancelled plans to explore for oil in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park . EcoInternet (then Ecological Internet) was the first to launch a global protest campaign to protect Africa’s oldest National Park, famed mountain gorillas, and forest-dependent local peoples from an oil drilling onslaught. Earlier other companies withdrew under pressure, yet SOCO continued its plans despite growing protest from UNESCO, WWF and locally.
“EcoInternet is thrilled that global people power has once again helped stop old-growth rainforest destruction. We must not allow every last bit of Earth’s large, wild and intact ecosystems to be sacrificed to extend our dependence upon fossil fuel, and delay transition now to renewable energy sources – ensuring abrupt run-away climate change and global ecosystem collapse,” states Dr. Glen Barry, EcoInternet’s President.
It has been 2 1/2 years since EcoInternet launched the first global protest campaign to stop SOCO International – a London-listed oil company – from exploring for oil in Virunga National Park. Virunga is Africa’s oldest national park and an UNESCO World Heritage site; and is home to a large population of wild gorillas, many other important wildlife species, primary rainforest ecosystems, and forest-dependent communities.
With EcoInternet, tens of thousands of people from 132 countries sent a third of a million protest emails – including this past March bombarding the London Stock Exchange with demands that SOCO be delisted . UNESCO provided critical leadership in documenting and publicizing the situation, WWF later strongly and effectively embraced the campaign as well, and the local struggle was intense as park rangers were threatened and the park director attacked. The announcement leaves open the possibility for oil drilling if WWF and UNESCO find it to be acceptable, something that EcoInternet will work to ensure does not happen.
A forth-coming journal article by Dr. Barry to be published this coming August finds that 2/3 of Earth’s ecosystems must be maintained to sustain the biosphere. Some 1/2 has already been lost, meaning humanity is in a state of ecological overshoot . For over two decades EcoInternet has worked tirelessly and enormously successfully to protect and restore primary and old-growth forests.
### ENDS ###
 Soco agrees to suspend oil exploration in Congo’s protected park, Reuters; June 10, 2014
 Action Alert: Demand Oil Exploration End in Congo’s Gorilla Rich Virunga National Park
 Terrestrial Ecosystem Loss and Biosphere Collapse – article abstract from peer-reviewed journal article to be published by Dr. Glen Barry in Management of Environmental Quality