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A Brief History of Extraction in the Ecuadorian Amazon

Actualizado: 4 ene 2022

As agroecology and permaculture practices have shown us, having an intimate, interdependent relationship with the soil allows for earth’s joys to reproduce abundantly. That is, when we embrace soil as the basis of sustenance, habitat, and life, we can begin to understand that our existence is tied up in its flourishing. That when we give to the soil, the soil gives to us. But what happens when dominant systems of capital accumulation and fascism keep us from accessing this relationship?

What results is a different, broken relationship with soil and its greater offshoots. Worldviews of domination and supremacy convert the life-giving organ underneath us into parcels to be divided up, penetrated, and exploded in the name of generating profit. This, in turn, gives way to mass scales of environmental destruction.

Such is the case in the history of the Ecuadorian Amazon, which dates back to the age of colonization in the 16th century. As waves of Spanish colonizers forced their way through the Amazonian “frontier” in search of gold and spices, the Amazonian region was increasingly understood as empty land waiting to be developed and exploited.