Here is the last post for now, as promised. And look at that, a bonus video!



What does that mean?

So now you’re wondering what you can do to help and why you haven’t heard of so much of this before (if anything at all). Here are some suggestions.

Well if you want to live a long and healthy life, and you want others to live them too (even if you don’t know them), then you could start small and just research the problem more and become more aware. Stay informed, be proactive and all that jazz. You could start to spread the word, maybe even spark something of the grassroots movement kind. You can start to question the reasoning behind oil companies not wanting to clean up after themselves.  Then if you want to go bigger, there are ways to get heard like creating petitions for oil companies to be responsible for cleaning up their own messes or contacting your local representative and telling them your concerns. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has had a part in helping the indigenous peoples. The organization, Amazon Watch has done some good things and could always use more donations and people. Another organization, The Amazon Defense Coalition, is very good too and they are going after Chevron at the moment. Feel free to join any of these organizations or follow them for news and updates to stay informed.

If you are concerned with the biodiversity and loss of  habitat and what not, or are more science oriented, Wood Hole Research Center has some information and I’m sure they would love some donations, they also have partnerships with Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin, Environmental Defense Fund,  and the Amazon Environmental Research Institute. You can follow them to stay informed or donate money or time.

The aim of this blog is to get you thinking and not just allow you to laugh it off and be on your merry way. Just so you know.

For the final post of this month, a nice video that you can feel free to critique at your leisure.

You know…That Health(y) Part

So you have an overview of what the oil part entails, as well as the background information. Now for the healthy part (or not so healthy).

With industrialized countries, we sorta have the good life you know. It does depend on who you’re asking but in general that is the sentiment. You have the option of going to get some food at different places, you know if there are some iffy and sketchy things in your food in one place, you can just go to another.

But in the interior of the Amazon? That’s not really the case. When those nice oil spills happen (and they happen more than you would think), it gets into the waterways. Those waterways contain fish, and other things [(like chips) not really]. It can also get into the soil (well there goes the crops). And when it’s time to go get your daily meal, you have this contaminated food. You can’t really throw it back and try to catch another because it’s all kinda sketchy with that nice sheen on top (you know, the one that happens when oil gets on water). So, you eat it.

After eating that sketchy fish (usually after eating it multiple times), you start to notice some strange feelings, like dizziness and achy stomach. Diarrhea and vomiting, headaches and lesions. All around yucky stuff. You can’t really go anywhere unless you want to travel to the city to get help. When this is driving you crazy you can do what indigenous peoples in Peru have done, and fight for their right to be consulted before opening up the Amazon Rainforest to development.

A recent study has found that there is a positive relationship between the proximity to oil fields and the occurrence of childhood leukemia in the Basin. Now this is only one study that I am referencing, and in layman’s terms it’s saying that the closer you are the the oil fields the more likely you are to get sick. A similar study has been done in France has yielded similar results.

Up Next: What does this all mean? What can you do to help?

That Oil Part

To get that wonderful black gold that everyone knows and loves, there are steps that need to be taken. First you have to start looking.

Well that’s obvious. Exploration involves geological and aerial surveys to find possible rock formations that could contain oil.

This picture is courtesy of I do not own this picture in anyway.

Ok so they found the rocks what now? Once they find those promising formations, they use seismic waves to map the underneath.

And…? With that taken care of, they then move on to the experimental drilling to see if there is any of that hydrocarbon stuff.

This image is courtesy of I do not own it in anyway shape or form.

Sheesh! What Next? After they drill it and verify that it is, in fact, there they have to see if it is economically viable. If it is, as you can imagine, they drill it. If it isn’t, then well, they drilled for free.

Once this is all said and done, they get to drill for more.

After the extracting, comes the refining. That is another beast altogether.

Up Next: the health part of this blog.

For now, some links to more information:

A more in-depth process

Some potential problems with this process (at least in the Amazon).

Introducing…The Amazon! – Basin, that is

So here is just some background information to get you started. After class there will be a quiz. (Just kidding).

The Amazon Basin has been a hotspot for various debates for decades. Acid rain, slash and burn, deforestation, biodiversity, potential cures being lost, water source, carbon sink, politics, and now oil production has made its way into those debates. Spanning ten countries, it is one of the world’s largest rainforest, and when talking about net primary productivity? It’s huge! There are many indigenous peoples that still live in relative isolation; there are those that purposely go into the Amazon to disappear, and to live in voluntary isolation.

As you can imagine, with all the constantly dying carbon based life forms in the Basin, there is bound to be a large oil deposit underneath it all. Oil production in the Amazon Basin is a big thing. Though in Ecuador, the government is not allowing oil extraction in the Yasuní Park. However, oil drilling elsewhere has had some disastrous effects both on the environment itself and the people who live near the oil extraction sites.

Up Next: the oil extraction and what it entails.