Nina Gualinga is from a small community in Ecuador called Sarayaku. She is an activist for the rights of Indigenous people, speaking up on platforms such as the Huffington Post about protecting the Indigenous cultural identity that contains traditions to use resources in sustainable ways. In particular, she focuses on Indigenous practices that encourage the regrowth and regeneration of resources.
Recently, Nina Gualinga spoke about climate change at the COP20 Climate Conference that took place in Lima in December of 2014. She spoke to the world leaders in attendance about the importance of protecting the environment to help make for a better world for future generations. She explained that it is vital to use resources wisely now to avoid environmental disasters and further irreversible climate changes.
In particular, Gualinga advocates reducing the global usage of fossil fuels. Namely, those resources are gas, oil, and coal. Currently, these fuel reserves are being burned at an alarmingly fast rate, which is raising global warming. According to Eye on Latin America, “between 60-80% of the world’s known fossil fuel reserves need to be left in the ground, instead of being burned and thus resulting in vast amounts of carbon dioxide being released into the environment…”
Why is this cause close to Nina Gualinga’s heart? The Amazon rainforest in Ecuador is a massive site of oil production. While advocates for the extraction of oil from the Amazon may argue that it will help take Ecuador out of poverty, Gualinga explains the opposite.
She says that Ecuador will remain in poverty, despite the oil extraction, and the activities will only destroy the environment as well as local culture and kill animals. The effects would reach far beyond Ecuador, having an effect on the global climate in the form of worsening global warming and more.
There is an Amazon Watch campaign that calls for an end to the drilling of oil in the Amazon rainforest. To date, there are 37,560 people who have signed the petition. Below is a video that has gone viral that features Nina Gualinga discussing the issues in her local area of Sarayaku, Ecuador. The video is titled Keep the Oil in the Ground.
Are you worried about climate change and the effects of oil drilling in the Amazon?