Largest Crowdfunding Campaign in History Attempts to Halt Oil Drilling in Ecuador's Yasuni Amazon Rainforest

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Environmental Group No Drill Ecuador Seeks $1.8 Billion Goal for Ecuador's Yasuni Oil Fields

The goal is high because the stakes are high...Individuals are the catalysts of change, and our leaders won't prioritize the environment until we demand they do so.

Environmental group No Drill Ecuador has launched the most ambitious crowd funding campaign in history to halt oil drilling on protected lands, with a goal of $1.8 billion. The campaign is at: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/no-drill-ecuador/x/4452868.

All funds will be donated directly to the World Land Trust, http://www.worldlandtrust.org, a charitable organization which buys land in order to preserve habitats in conjunction with the people who live on them. Sir David Attenborough is their patron.

The project was started in response to Ecuador's President Rafael Correa's announcement last week that the Yasuni basin and other protected lands would be opened for drilling. Mass demonstrations as well as a petition to overturn the decision have led to Correa threatening to shut down newspapers there.

Says Tamsin Hollo, one of the organizers of the crowdfunding campaign, "I'm tired of feeling helpless in the face of accelerating environmental disasters. The greatest habitat on earth is being destroyed to get oil that we'll never be able to burn without destroying the planet. It simply doesn't make sense."

The Amazon rainforest, the most biologically diverse area on Earth, is the world's largest absorber of C02 gas. It also swaps vast amounts of water and energy with the atmosphere and is thought to be important in controlling both local and regional climates, as well as ocean currents.

In 2007, Correa had asked the world's nations to supply $3.6 billion to preserve protected lands from oil development. Hailed by environmentalists as a new paradigm for environmental protection in developing countries, it failed as only $13 million was raised.

Initially, crowd funding websites wouldn't allow No Drill Ecuador to raise the full $3.6 billion, but leading site Indiegogo finally agreed to let them to raise half of it. Asked if the group thought they could really raise nearly 2 billion dollars, Ms Hollo replied, "The goal is high because the stakes are high. Once the Amazon is gone, we'll never get it back, or the benefits it provides all of us. I don't know if we'll reach our goal, but we're urging people who feel passionately about the environment and climate change to help us try."

The campaign offers "real, tangible" solutions to the problem of escalating environmental damage. The World Land Trust strategically buys acreage in at-risk habitats, and helps local populations manage them successfully.

Equally important to raising money is highlighting the inadequacies of the current system of managing key environmental assets. In 2009, at the UN Climate Change Conference, the Green Fund was initiated to provide $100 billion in subsidies to developing nations to preserve environments and mitigate climate change. 4 years later, the Green Fund is still in its planning stages, and no monies have been disbursed.

For the project's $1.8 billion target to be reached, every human on the planet would have to donate approximately 25 cents. At the same time, the top five oil companies in the world reported profits of over $100 billion in 2012 alone. No Drill Ecuador supports a tax on oil profits to pay for mitigating the effects of fossil fuels.

In the meantime, however, the group states on their website: “Governments need to act, and they need to act now. But individuals are the catalysts of change, and our leaders won't prioritize the environment until we demand they do so. By donating to this campaign, you are saying loud and clear that it is unacceptable to abandon one of the world's richest assets to oil greed.”

Contact:

No Drill Ecuador: nodrillecuador(at)gmail(dot)com

For more information, please go to:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nodrillecuador
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gymQ3lZvuI0
Campaign: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/no-drill-ecuador/x/4452868
World Land Trust :http://www.worldlandtrust.org

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Tamsin Hollo
@nodrillecuador
since: 08/2013
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