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Your chance to save Ecuador's rainforest

Individuals can contribute as little as 60p to compensate the country for leaving its oil underground

Source:  Copyright 2011, Guardian
Date:  July 17, 2011
Byline:  Esmé McAvoy
Original URL: Status ONLINE
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In 2007, Ecuador floated an unprecedented proposal: it would leave a fifth of its oil reserves – 846m barrels of crude – underground for the health of the planet if, in return, the international community stumped up $350bn (£217bn), half its market value. The oil lies in the Ishpingo, Tambococha and Tiputini (ITT) oil fields, beneath the stunning Yasuni national park in Ecuador's Amazon, an area that scientists have called the most biodiverse tract of rainforest in the world.

But after four years of vainly trying to secure the cash from rich nations, Ecuador is turning to . . . us. Last week, the Yasuni-ITT trust fund, administered by the UN Development Programme, became open to donations of as little as $1 (previously, the fund only accepted contributions of $10,000 or more). "The idea is that individuals the world over will show their support . . . by symbolically 'buying' a barrel of Yasuni oil," says Carlos Larrea, technical director for the crowdfunding ...

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