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Bo Derek Leads Campaign Against Oil Drilling in Amazon's Yasuni National Park

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Last month, we told you about Bo Derek joining in the fight against the shark fin trade, calling it a “global environmental crisis.” Now, she is leading another environmental cause.

The actress/activist is now the ambassador in the campaign against oil drilling in Yasuni National Park in Ecuador, part of the Amazon rainforest. According to Huffington Post, it is also home to “the last remaining voluntary isolated communities, including the Waorani tribe that currently lives there.” The field contains 20% of Ecuador’s oil, its value has been estimated up to $10 billion. Derek said that in 2006, Ecuador’s President Raphael Correa asked the world to give $3.6 billion, about half of what the oil field is worth, to Ecuador. The donated money would be put towards “social development, renewable energy, clean up and reforestation.” Drilling in the national park would then be banned. $100M USD will be needed by the end of 2011, and donations have been coming in through the Ecuador Yasuni ITT Trust Fund, created by the United Nations Development Programme.

Derek says “Unfortunately, this hit during this economic crisis, so it it is really impressive how many countries are contributing. I think it’s symbolic and a show of good faith that the world cares about this…I think the easy route would be to let an oil company come in and drill, but [the president] won’t have it,” she said. “As a developing country, it is a big sacrifice for them. Yet 70 percent of the people support this initiative in Ecuador.” The country was the first to grant constitutional rights to nature in 2008.  This next decision could be another win for nature, preventing “1,207 million metric tons of CO2 emissions from drilling, the burning of oil and deforestation.”

While Derek says she is not opposed to all drilling for oil, she does feel this is a place that needs to be preserved. “Personally I’m not against drilling. I think we’re still dependent on fossil fuel. I hope one day we aren’t, but we’re not quite there yet…Ecuador is drilling and they’re going to continue to drill. It is their largest export. But there are some places that are so unique, so special that we should all support not drilling there.” She says Nobel Prize winner Eric Chivian and other scientists has all signed a letter stating that no drilling should take place in the park, because “we have all the medicines in that place to every disease in the world.”


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