Millions of acres of rainforest saved: A tiny Amazon tribe just defeated big oil in a historic lawsuit.

It’s not every day that you see a story like this. A real David v. Goliath story that results in a win for all of humanity.

The Ecuadorian government wanted to drill for oil through seven million acres of land in the Amazon. However, their efforts were stopped thanks to the Waorani people of Pastaza, who won a historic court ruling against the government. The lawsuit represented 16 Waorani communities who live inside the Ecudorian jungle.

As Rachel Riederer for The New Yorker reports:


On April 26th, a parade of hundreds of Waorani men and women, members of an indigenous nation in a remote part of the Ecuadorian Amazon, marched triumphantly through the streets of Puyo, the regional capital of the eastern province of Pastaza. Many had come from villages in parts of the rain forest that have no roads—journeying by canoe and small plane. They were celebrating a new court ruling, which held that the Ecuadorian government could not, as it had planned, auction off their land for oil exploration without their consent.

The ruling immediately protects have a million acres from government-sanctioned drilling but also puts a stop to a planned auctioning seven million additional acres of land that would have gone to private companies who wanted to set up oil exploration operations.

What’s more, the ruling could set a powerful precedent for other indigenous communities fighting to prevent government and corporate interests from drilling on their lands.

Mitch Anderson, Executive Director of Amazon Frontlines, summed up the impact in a statement:

“This is a major precedent for indigenous rights across the Amazon. Today, the court has recognized a pattern of deceit, bad-faith and manipulative tactics in the Ecuadorian Government’s attempt to earmark the Waorani people’s lands for oil extraction. This is a huge step forward in the battle to ensure indigenous people’s rights over their lands are respected. Guaranteeing indigenous peoples’ rights to decide over their future and to say ‘No’ to destructive extractive projects is key to protecting the Amazon rainforest and halting climate change.”

The Ecuadorian economy is experiencing a period of slow growth and its government is currently mired in international debt and has said it planned to use any revenue from oil drilling to help pay off those loans.

After the ruling, they said they planned to appeal the decision before a provincial court, which could reverse the decision. However, the Waorani have promised to keep fighting against the proposed drilling, even if it means seeking intervention from international courts to protect their sovereignty over the land.

“The court recognized that the government violated our right to live free, and make our own decisions about our territory and self-determination,” Nemonte Nenquimo, a Waorani leader, told the New Yorker. “Our territory is our decision, and now, since we are owners, we are not going to let oil enter and destroy our natural surroundings and kill our culture.”

It's an incredibly achievement for the Waorani people and for everyone on the planet. Their victory not only protects millions of acres of precious and vulnerable rainforest, it shows that any community can take a stand to protect the values of its people even in the face of immense power. Real change starts at home but it can have an impact that stretches across the entire globe.

Heroes

Anyone who has spent a day in a classroom knows that teachers—especially teachers of young kids—are superhuman superheroes. And any parent who has spent a day outside of a classroom trying to wrangle a group of young kids through a field trip would describe teachers in even stronger language than that.

That's what dad blogger Clint Edwards of No Idea What I'm Doing: A Daddy Blog discovered on a recent trip to a pumpkin patch with his daughter's kindergarten class. The father of three and author of a new book, "Silence is a Scary Sound: And Other Stories on Living Through the Terrible Twos and Threes," penned a tribute to teachers everywhere that has gone viral for the hilariously real truth it describes.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Healthcare dominated much of the Democratic debates this week, and for good reason. Multiple polls show that healthcare remains Americans' top concern.

My teenage daughter recently had some blood work done, and the total cost was more than $1000. After insurance, we have the honor of paying $200. For blood work. For nothing to be wrong.

Was the lab testing her blood with gold and platinum? Were they sending it to space and back? I mean seriously, how on earth could blood tests cost $1000?

Meanwhile, in other countries, we have people giving birth, having surgeries, fixing broken bones, as well as basic blood work, for no out of pocket cost whatsoever.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

A tiger who was injured in a poacher's trap will be given a prosthetic paw in the first operation of its kind.

The seven-year-old cat named Sahebrao was rescued in the Chandrapur district of India in 2012 and was relocated to the Wildlife Rescue Center at the Gorewada Zoo in Nagpur. He later developed gangrene and had to have part of his left leg amputated, according to The Indian Express.

For last six years, Sahebrao has been living with increasing pain. Determined to help the animal, Sushrut Babhulkar, a Nagpur-based orthopedic surgeon, adopted the cat and has been working with experts, including Dr. Peter Giannoudis from the University of Leeds in the U.K., to explore the possibility of creating an artificial limb.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Pixabay

In today's episode of WTH, professional accounting services firm Ernst & Young has taken gender dynamics in the workplace to a whole new level. And by whole new level, I mean totally batsh*t backwards.

An anonymous former employee sent a 55-page Power-Presence-Purpose (PPP) presentation to HuffPost, detailing a self-improvement training offered to employees last year. According to "Jane," who has since left the company, the presentation was demeaning to women and left her feeling like a piece of meat.

Keep Reading Show less
popular