The Amazon: A Global Treasure
Rainforests sustain us. They help regulate the global climate and are vital to maintaining the earth's fragile balance. The Amazon rainforest is the world's largest and most biodiverse tropical rainforest, covering an area larger than the continental United States. It houses one-third of the Earth's plant and animal species and produces one-fifth of all its fresh water.
Nearly 400 distinct indigenous peoples depend on the Amazon rainforest for their physical and cultural survival. At current rates of deforestation, nearly 50 percent of the Amazon could be lost or severely degraded by the year 2020, and the vast majority will no longer be in a pristine state.
With global deforestation contributing 20–25 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, Amazon Watch and our indigenous partners are providing a service to all humanity as we together seek to defend the rainforest. Each of us can take action. We may be the last generation that has a chance to protect this precious gem of our world's cultural and ecological heritage – an irreplaceable source of life and inspiration.
Amazon Watch is a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin. We partner with indigenous and environmental organizations in campaigns for human rights, corporate accountability and the preservation of the Amazon's ecological systems.
We envision a world that honors and values cultural and biological diversity and the critical contribution of tropical rainforests to our planet's life support system. We believe that indigenous self-determination is paramount, and see that indigenous knowledge, cultures and traditional practices contribute greatly to sustainable and equitable stewardship of the Earth. We strive for a world in which governments, corporations and civil society respect the collective rights of indigenous peoples to free, prior and informed consent over any activity affecting their territories and resources. We commit, in the spirit of partnership and mutual respect, to support our indigenous allies in their efforts to protect life, land, and culture in accordance with their aspirations and needs.
Tell the Brazilian Government that you are deeply concerned about their plans to build the Belo Monte Dam in the Amazon rainforest.
The Achuar have decided that they do not want development based on oil drilling and the unsustainable extraction of natural resources.
Enough is enough. It's long past time for Chevron to clean up the deadly mess they made in Ecuador.
August 6, 2012 | Suzanne West
My daughter Elena and I have just returned from a journey deep into the Amazon where we spent a week as guests of an Achuar indigenous community targeted by Canadian oil company Talisman Energy, which is on a quest to control oil exploration in the Peruvian Amazon despite the fact that recent test drilling has shown only modest potential. During our stay we took part in strategy sessions with leaders from about 20 of the 48 surrounding communities, many of whom walked or traveled by boat for 2-3 days to attend. We left deeply inspired and motivated to protect this extraordinary place and its peoples.
The Achuar are well-organized and supported in their efforts by several international NGOs, including Amazon Watch. Last year, Amazon Watch led an Achuar delegation to Canada where they coordinated a series of meetings with the CEO of Talisman, important members of Parliament and key media. Amazon Watch is fighting this fight with relentless grassroots efforts through international channels, including attaining recognition of the Achuars' legal rights to protect ancestral territory and directly pressuring Talisman. After observing the Achuar's peaceful and pure way of living off the land and how they care for the rainforest, I am deeply moved and inspired to help however I can in their fight to get Talisman to leave the Amazon and their lives in peace.
We need your help to support the Achuar. Please join me in this fight as we all stand to benefit, or conversely, we all stand to suffer the consequences if we turn a blind eye. In addition to my ongoing support I have personally pledged $10,000 to Amazon Watch to see this fight through. Won't you join me by matching this commitment in any way that you can?