Amazon Watch

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Amazon Watch
Amazon Watch logo.jpg
Founded 1996
Type Non-governmental organization
Focus Environmentalism
Indigenous rights
Area served
Amazon Basin
US$ 1,485,169 (2012)

Amazon Watch is a nonprofit organization[1] Founded in 1996,' based in Oakland, California. It works to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin. It partners with indigenous and environmental organizations in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Brazil in campaigns for human rights, corporate accountability and the preservation of the Amazon's ecological systems.


In Ecuador, the organization supports a court case to hold the US oil company Chevron accountable for the dumping of 18 billion US gallons (68,000,000 m3) of toxic waste water into a region of Ecuador's Amazon rainforest inhabited by more than 30,000 people – purported to be one of the largest oil related contaminations ever, far exceeding that of the Exxon Valdez disaster.[2] A 2011 decision in Ecuador ordered Chevron to pay $9.5 billion. Ecuador's Supreme Court in 2013 affirmed the trial court judgment in a 222-page decision that meticulously documented the extensive and life-threatening levels of oil pollution at dozens of former Chevron well sites in the jungle. In all, eight appellate judges in Ecuador reviewed the evidence against Chevron and affirmed the judgment as well as dismissing Chevron's allegation of fraud. Chevron refuses to comply with the $9.5 billion judgment against it.

In Ecuador, beyond supporting indigenous efforts to keep their territories intact and win greater rights guarantees, Amazon Watch is also promoting visionary alternatives that could protect the Amazonian environment and local communities. The Yasuni ITT initiative is one such initiative for which we have actively campaigned. The proposal seeks to keep some 900 million barrels of heavy crude that lies underneath Yasuni National Park permanently in the ground in exchange for half of the forgone oil revenues. If done right, the proposal is an important first step towards keeping oil reserves in fragile and culturally sensitive ecosystems in Ecuador and beyond.

In Peru, Amazon Watch is a plaintiff in a case against the US oil company Occidental for its damage to the rainforest.[3] It currently supports the Achuar indigenous people in resisting oil exploration on their lands by the Canadian oil company Talisman and the Argentinian company Pluspetrol.[4] Amazon Watch also supports a school that trains indigenous leaders how to defend their rights against oil and mining companies.

In Brazil, The Brazilian government is building the world's third largest hydroelectric dam on the Xingu River, one of the Amazon's major tributaries. The Belo Monte dam complex would divert 80 percent of the Xingu River's flow, devastating an area of over 1,500 square kilometers of rainforest and result in the forced displacement of up to 40,000 people. Together with the people of the Xingu and a network of Brazilian and international NGOs, Amazon Watch is working to document and publicize the dam's devastating impacts on local and indigenous populations.

Amazon Watch reports that the current rate of deforestation threatens to push the Amazon past a tipping point from which it cannot recover. It says that in the last 30 years, 20 percent of the Amazon has been deforested and another 20 percent degraded – all fueled by clearing land for agriculture and large-scale industrial projects such as oil and gas pipelines, dams and roads.


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