Ecuadorian referendum banning oil drilling in Amazon being called 'historic'
Ecuadorian voters have overwhelmingly supported a ban on future oil extraction in a biodiverse section of the Amazon’s Yasuní National Park—in what many are calling a historic referendum result that will protect Indigenous Yasuní land from development.
A portion of the Amazon in Yasuni National Park in Ecuador.—Global Conservation.org photo
On August 20, Ecuador made history with a 59 percent vote in support of the popular referendum—which was originally introduced in 2008—to stop petroleum drilling in the area, one of the most biodiverse on the planet. “It’s an example not just for Ecuador, but for the world,” said Alexandra Almeida of Acción Ecológica, an environmental organization based in the capital of Quito.
In 2008, Ecuador became the first country to grant nature rights in its constitution. Now, in another first, Ecuadorian social movements "have bypassed pro-extractivist politicians with a national referendum to keep oil from Block 43 also known as “Yasuní ITT,” a concession in the deepest part of the Amazonian protected Yasuní National Forest, in the ground," according to NACLA (North American Congress on Latin America).