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Sumak Kawasay: Full Life
an article by Monsterrat Homs and Johanna Barba

In 2007, the president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, proposed before the General Assembly of the UN a project without precedents: The Yasuni ITT initiative.

Yasuní Reserve

click on photo to enlarge

It is calculated that the natural reserve that bears the same name, contains around 846 million barrels of oil -which can be translated into 107 thousand barrels each day for 13 years - in an area of 982 thousand hectares.

It is important to note that, in Ecuador, hydrocarbons represent 53% of the total of exports, nonetheless, the utilization of these resources would impact the rich biodiversity of the park, as well as the Kichwa, Waorani, Tagaeri and Taromenane indigenous peoples that live there.

The alternative proposal of president Correa consists in a commitment by Ecuador to avoid exploiting the land in exchange for at least 50% percent of the revenues the nation would receive if it did. Correa suggests that the mentioned amount be provided by the industrialized countries subscribed to the Kyoto Protocol.

The money is to be destined to an International Trust Fund held by the United Nations Development Fund. This organ receives and manages the donations, investing them exclusively on sustainability through renewable energy in Ecuador.

It should be mentioned that, amongst the benefits of this initiative, is the abstention from emitting 407 millions of tons of CO2 and the preservation of the flora, fauna and settlements of indigenous peoples.

Click here for the original Spanish version of this article.


Question(s) related to this article:

What is the relation between the environment and peace?,

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One way to understand the relation between environment and peace is to turn the question on its head and ask what is the relation between the environment and the culture of war.  Here is what I say in my book The History of the Culture of War :

The exploitation of the culture of war involves not only exploitation of people, but also exploitation of the environment. In recent years everyone has become more aware of the dangers of environmental pollution, with special attention to carbon emissions which have increased atmospheric carbon dioxide and resulted in global warming. This is also related to the loss of the world's forests which redress the problem by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Insufficient attention has been paid, however, to the great environmental destruction and pollution caused by military activity.

Historically, military-related activity has been one of the primary causes of deforestation. This was already evident in ancient times as described above in the case of Greece and Rome. More recently, the British Empire was a major destroyer of forests, as described for India in an article by Budholai (available on the Internet) :

"The early days of British rule in India were days of plunder of natural resources. . ...more.

This report was posted on February 22, 2012.