Ecuador’s unique scheme to save the rainforest continues after success of global community to raise vital funds.
Ecuador’s president says he’ll continue with a unique scheme to protect the country’s rainforest after the success of the global community clubbing together to save rainforest threatened by oil extraction.
Hollywood stars, including Leonardo DiCaprio plus environmentalists such as Al Gore were just some of the high profile names that helped raise 116 million dollars to stop the oil being drilled in Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park.
The bulk of the funds were sourced from Italy, who forgave 51 million dollars of debt to Ecuador. Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, raised some of the funds by donating $40 million using the money he won from a lawsuit against an opposition newspaper.
Earlier this year, Ecuador began its ground-breaking initiative of ‘crowd funding’ to save one of its most pristine rainforests after an estimated 850 million barrels of oil were discovered underneath it. Rafael Correa called on the international community to pledge half of what the oil is currently worth, 3.6 billion dollars, to effectively pay Ecuador for leaving the oil in the ground. Correa had said that if 100 million dollars had not been reached by the end of 2011 Ecuador would start extracting the oil.
Yasuni has been claimed to be the most biodiverse place on earth, with a single hectare thought to contain as many as 100,000 insect species. Preventing oil extraction in Yasuni would preserve this biodiversity, safeguard indigenous populations and keep an estimated 410 million tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere.
With scientists across the globe accusing governments of acting too slowly in tackling climate change, the innovative approach modelled by the Yasuni-ITT initiative, with such immediate results, may become a more frequent occurrence.