Ecuador’s future thoughts from the Amazon to Paul McCartney

Amazon Rainforest

Amazon rainforest along the shores of Rio Napo – Napo Province, Ecuador

Waking up this morning on the floor of the airport in Quito it was hard to believe that I had just seen 71 year old Paul McCartney own the stage in Liga Stadium after spending the better part of two weeks in the Amazon rain forest; then again that’s Ecuador.

Ecuador is a country in a constant state of change and contrast. Much like the Amazon rainforest, the living breathing lungs of the world that makes up nearly half the country, Ecuador is alive. Yet the country is changing, with new found oil reserves offshore and in its national forest new money is revitalizing the countries economy, but at what cost.

With economic growth comes new responsibilities and though the comforts malls, movie theatres, concerts, computers and cars (symbols of a growing economy) are necessary in today’s world, Ecuador is slowly losing its most precious natural resources.

It’s incredible to consider that Ecuador still has indigenous communities deep in the rainforest that have not had human contact with the modern world though, in the capital city, you can go and see Beatle super star Paul McCartney.

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney performing in Quito, Ecuador

The middle class is growing in Ecuador and the country is becoming richer but wealth comes at a cost. Through the smoke and mirrors of economic prosperity the natural wonders of Ecuador are slowly disappearing. Some estimates put the loss Ecuadorian Amazon at 50% by the year 2020.

I loved visiting Ecuador and was at odds with the dilemma of economic prosperity versus environmental degredation. Spending time in Quito was comfortable with taxis, good food, malls, movies, and Paul McCartney it felt just like home. Yet, spending time on the shores of the Rio Napo (the Amazons largest river) knowing that it is more than 25% polluted and seeing communities that still don’t have access to fresh water I wonder what the future holds for Ecuador.

With plans to drill for oil in Yasuni national park (one of the last truly untouched parts of Ecuador’s rainforest and a hub of biodiversity that can’t be found anywhere else in the world), a growing off shore oil industry and a country demanding more for its people it’s hard to know the future of Ecuador.

My hope is that strict environmental regulations will protect the rainforest, the ocean, the Andes and Ecuador’s people, but my knowledge of the world and capitalist economy driven public policy is that we might lose a part of Ecuador forever.


Ian Yacobucci

Traveling the Trans-Siberian, mountaineering the Himalayas, or teaching in Tokyo, I'm always trying something new. As a someone who's worked, studied, and traveled to 40+ countries around the world, I'm here to share my experiences so you can do the same.

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