Let’s not dwell over the struggle for survival of native peoples. Let’s not consider the worst-case scenario. Let’s say a way of clean oil extraction can be found. Yes, a dream come true. Even if that were the case, even if the jungle would hardly be affected, even if the 1.375 million cubic meters of toxic waters extracted with the oil (the equivalent of 1.5 million Olympic swimming pools of formation water), would be pumped right back into the ground as is usual, rather than dumping it in the rivers like Texaco did, or like it’s still been done in Peru, we would still face other issues. Lets presume that none of the pipelines would ever burst or the valves fail, and that all the gas will be used rather than burned, as it is currently burning in most if not all of the other oil fields in Ecuador, the bottom line is that the oil extracted would mostly be used for internal combustion engines, causing the emission of 410 million tons of CO2.
Let’s say the roads made into the ITT Block would not be free to use by settlers, as most other roads are now, let’s say that the money that is made from oil extraction is used in sensible projects, none of those projects would entail the research and development and hopefully implementation of truly sustainable energy systems, as the money coming from the Yasuni-ITT Initiative pretends to be used, among other social projects and nature conservation strategies. It is clear that the oil from the ITT Block would not bring a change for Ecuador, not in the positive sense. Ecuador cannot currently survive without oil extraction, but the world doesn’t need anymore oil, it needs new solutions, which will certainly not come about using money earned from extracting oil. That is simply not the way the economy works.
The proposal for the ITT Block development is to drill more or less 214 wells. This means around 100.000 cubic meters of solid waste, and around 500.000 cubic meters of toxic liquids, not to mention the chemicals used for drilling that have to be brought in. To move these chemicals in and all the waste out, roads need to be built, as the waste would have to be carried by around 15.000 dump trucks, if the waste is not to remain on the ITT Block. So where would it go? Even if helicopters were to be used to carry all the equipment in, as one of the projects sproposals foresees, there would still be a lot of damage done to nature and as you can see, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Drilling the oil simply is not the solution any more. Ecuador has made an important step in showing the world that there is another possibility: the move to sustainable energies.