Cafe Hood always put on a different film each night that we were in Baños. A huge range of different movies all the time which was really cool.

One of the filming nights we caught the movie “Trinkets and Beads“, which is about the development of oil companies in the Amazon near native lands. The movie did an excellent job at actually showing how the movement of oil companies coming into native tribe areas, where indeginous people have not been disturbed for many years, is having a really bad impact. They draw the comparison to how there has been a similiar impact created as a result of western christian religions entrying these rural remote areas as well. In some cases the relationship between the indeginous and the religious orginations is used to help bring in oil companies. 

The interview with one of the leaders Moi who was trying to unite his tribe in opposition to the oil development in their land was very telling. “It´s not about exploiting oil,” says Moi, “it´s about who controls the rainforest…it´s everyone´s concern because this is the heart of the world…”

I think he has a point.

They really touched on the devastating impacts of bringing roads into these rural areas of the jungle. For example, it encourages more settlement in areas that are meant to be protected, development is not careful about what areas of the rainforest are being cut down, and oil spills are poorly cleaned up. It contaminates the water that they need to survive, the land they use to eat, and the forest they use to live.

Honestly, I think that multinational companies should be required by international law to abide by the same environmental regulations in any country they are developing in as they would in their own home country. Or better yet create international environmental regulations that adhere to a specific standard that doesn´t compromise the environment and human health.

Sure you´ll check out the film and then say that things have changed since that time. But I talked with a friend Carolyn who went out to the Amazon to work at a Jatun Sacha site. She said that the pipelines are placed all along the highway in rural areas. There have been leaks that have blown up entire busses that happen to be driving by at the time of the leak. You´d never have that happen in Canada…a company would be sued and go belly up over the neg. media attention it would receive.

One individual who was living a few miles from a pipeline explosion received third degree burns because he was sitting on his porch. The company (Shell I believe it was) gave the man $10 USD to help compensate him for the “wounds” that he had received. Now Ecuador is cheaper in comparison to the states..but let´s figure this out. If someone got burned in Canada or the US they would be compensated $10, 000 at the very least. So if we take a basic inflation rate of $10 per meal they would be compensated for the price of 1000 meals. Taking that back to Ecuador the average meal costs $3 per meal. Meaning the man should have received more like $3000 USD.

It´s not really right the way that developed countries inflict different rules on countries that have shit governments and where the economies are placed into situations where they become dependant on international trade in order to be more successful or get themselves out of debt. I think it´s tragic and sad. Not really the world that I want to support either. Frankly, I think that if companies are going to move into countries like Ecuador and treat people this way they are no better than the leaders of some of the most corrupt countries that they critisize.

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