The Day the Planet Started to Win
The people are revolting (in the very best meaning of that word)!
An inspiring example of people rising up against a trifecta of economic, cultural, and political oppression has just come to us from a community of seemingly-powerless people living in a very of isolated place. Long exploited, lied to, disrespected, and robbed, they revolted, daring to take on the biggest, richest, most-politically-connected industrial power on the globe: BigOil. Astonishingly – after a decade of protesting, organizing, coalition building, suing, petitioning, and otherwise resolutely rebelling against injustice – these tenacious people just won an inspiring grassroots victory over BigOil profiteering.
One reason you probably haven’t heard about it is that it didn’t happen in any of the usual centers of media focus – but in the Amazonian rainforest of Ecuador. Also, this revolt was not led by some brand-name environmental group or charismatic political honcho, but by the Tagaeri and Taromenani tribes and other indigenous Waorani people living in the rich biodiversity of Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park.
Directly challenging the exigent crisis of climate change, the Waorani rallied the region’s young people into a potent political force. They successfully organized behind a national referendum to (1) ban oil drilling in the region, (2) compel the profiteers to remove their wells and pipelines, and (3) pay for remediation and reforestation. Significantly, they specifically called for leaving oil in the ground so it would not add to climate destruction. Moreover, the proposed ban was binding, unable to be overturned by future lobbyists and officials.
A resounding 58 percent of Ecuadorians voted “Yes!” As a Waorani leader noted this is “the day the planet started to win.”
The victory also says to environmental leaders everywhere, “Be Bolder! Trust the people – grassroots organizing wins. Go for it!”
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