LAC: Exploration and Exploitation: Natural Resources, Indigenous Rights, and Oil Mining in the Amazon

Date & Time March 14, 2022 5:00pm - 6:00pm
JCC 610
Latin American Committee

With reports of mass destruction of natural spaces and elimination of complete ecosystems from across the world emerging constantly, all eyes turn to the largest rainforest in the world: the Amazon. The Amazon, like many ecosystems of our world, is home to millions of animal species, indigenous people who have inhabited the region for centuries, and precious minerals and materials. However, during the last century, international corporations have established massive projects to extract the materials from the land, more specifically oil. In the case of Ecuador, we see the prime example of a petro-state and the way the economic benefit of oil extraction is impacted by public opinion and activists fighting for the purity of the Amazon. Moreover, the petro-state economy and the investments of international corporations come under heavy scrutiny due to the well-being of the indigenous people who live there. Therefore, by looking at Professor Todd Eisenstadt’s documentary: “Who Speaks for Nature? Indigenous Movements, Public Opinion, and the Petro-State in Ecuador” we will then be analyzing how the country’s oil economy is impacting the current state of indigenous rights with the goal of assessing whether the actions taken by Ecuadorian officials have been fruitful and what the future holds for both the native people of the region and the commercialization of Amazonian land.

Guest Speaker: Todd Eisenstadt, who serves as research director of the Center for Environmental Policy (CEP) at American University. He has worked on six continents, publishing multiple award-winning books and dozens of articles on climate change and environmental policy, and political development. He just co-authored Climate Change, Science, and the Politics of Shared Sacrifice (Oxford University Press 2022) and has written extensively on climate finance and adaptation in the developing world (conducting national surveys in Bangladesh and Ecuador) as a principal investigator of World Bank and the National Science Foundation grants. In 2019, he published Who Speaks for Nature? Indigenous Environmental Movements, Public Opinion, and Ecuador's Petro-State, studying rural, indigenous communities to understand how they experience climate vulnerability, especially in areas of heavy oil extraction in Ecuador’s Amazon region. Published by the Oxford University Press, the book stems in part from an earlier book, Politics, Identity, and Mexico's Indigenous Rights Movements (Cambridge University Press, 2011).

Join the Latin American Committee for a panel discussion of the Amazon region’s future.  in person at JCC Room 610 or online: