Yasuni National Park Dilemma

February 16, 2013

I found the drilling conflict in Yasuni National Park in Ecuador to be particularly interesting and worth discussing further. The preservation of the park is an essential goal not only for those at the forefront of global environmental awareness, but also for people who appreciate and admire the true beauty of that area. The dilemma remains to be whether to choose to drill the forest to seek temporary gains and possibly a better way of living for many in the nation, or to preserve the park and have the fear of national economic deprivation. This conflict is not one that has been answered, nor will it be easy to answer in the future, but a decision must be made.

My good friend Ivan is studying abroad in Ecuador this semester and he gave me some pictures to show everyone. There is a possibility that I am exceptionally interested in this country’s issues because my friend is learning about them too, but nonetheless I find this conflict in particular very important. Here are some nature shots that he took.

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Using the emotional side of my brain, it’s insane to me that there are people in the world that seek to destroy the forest and the species that depend on it to survive. On the other hand, it is clear that the possible profit Ecuador would receive, roughly $7 billion, would obviously be very helpful for them. Here’s the big question: How do you help the people of your country without destroying the environment around them? As of now, Rafael Correa has asked the wealthy nations of the world to contribute. Essentially, he has put the park up for ransom set at around $3.6 billion in order to help stabilize the economy without touching the park. Moral judgments aside, this is the most productive attempt Ecuador has made to fix this problem. So far the U.S. has not contributed to this cause.

If it were up to me, I would give aid to Ecuador and other countries with this issue because frankly I just think it’s the right thing to do. There’s no possible way to know if Correa has alternative motives behind this ask for funds, and personally I would rather be known as someone who helped another in need rather than turning them away for fear of disloyalty. As a nation, the U.S. has thrived off of the exploitation of less developed countries throughout history; why not give back a little while we still hold a majority of the world’s power? Perhaps I’m being I’m being unrealistic in my opinions, but I think it’s just plain good karma.

In the future I hope for economic and civil stability in Ecuador without the expense of the rain forests. Let’s not make the same mistakes as those who collapsed before us, and preserve the earth that gives us so much, even if it means letting go of our materialized thoughts and motives.

-KK

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Lost Civilizations

February 2, 2013

The past weeks of class we’ve dived into the major problems that have caused the collapse of early civilizations. The first case study we learned about was the fall of the pioneer society on Easter Island. In this example, and like most other lost civilizations, beginning success and a huge growth in production led to overpopulation. Resources, such as trees, fertile soil, and fresh water, were depleted because more and more people needed to be fed. The people believed that the solution to this was to create more and more giant stone statues for the Gods. Before they knew it, all of the resources were completely gone and social upheaval caused a more exacerbated collapse.

We then learned about the five major causes of environmental problems. They are population growth, unsustainable resource use, poverty, excluding environmental costs from market prices, and trying to manage nature without knowing enough about it. I can’t help but imagine if this sort of collapse of our modern societies is inevitable because of the giant spike in population we’ve seen within the last century. I would like to think we have advanced enough to prevent this from happening, but with global climate change and natural resource depletion upon us, it’s not completely ludicrous to see collapse coming our way. Hopefully, we come together and prevent this from happening before it’s too late and eventually prevent the same fate of the Easter Islanders from happening to us.

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