Environmental Justice Case Study: Ecuador’s Huaoraní Indians Fight Against Maxus Energy Corporation’s Plans to Extract Oil on Their Traditional Territory, is a case study collected by Environmental Justice Case Studies by University of Michigan students. This study takes place in the Huaorani Indian territory, located deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon also known as the Oriente. (http://www.umich.edu/%7Esnre492/paul.html) The Ecuadorian government gave permission to the Maxus Energy Corporation to explore oil on the Huaorani’s native land in 1992. The Ecuadorian government is in favor of Maxus because the country depends on the oil resource for nearly half of the country’s income. This concept ties into course content on development because of the environmental justice movement and how it is a global issue targeted in regions that are the poorest and least powerful. The Huaorani tribe does not seek money but, instead these people want their land and streams unharmed by toxic chemicals being released by Maxus. The company has a history of deforestation of rainforests, river pollution, and intimidation or communities in the places they have drilled.
According to International Environmental Justice: Building the Natural Assets of the World’s Poor by Krista Harper and S. Ravi Rajan, a case study on page 6, Fighting for Clean Air in Urban China discusses people in Tianjin and Beijing, China are suffering negatively from development (http://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/working_papers/working_papers_51-100/WP87.pdf) This case study discusses how pollution is known as the price the citizens have to pay for “China’s economic miracle.” The goal of this development is to supply the people of China with jobs and to increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In module 5, it was discussed how GDP are monetary statistics that can be used a measure for development. Compared to Western Countries, such as the US, China is still not as developed. The “economic miracle” or industrialization of China has also caused extremely dangerous air and water pollution, which largely impacts the poor and children of this country. This ties into course content similarly with Ecuador in the concept of how poor regions geographically and those least powerful are the largest impacted by the pollution.
These two case studies tie into the environmental justice issue of fracking in the State of Pennsylvania. The issue of fracking in Centre County, PA is similar to the other studies because these impacts of development negatively affect human health in these regions by the release of harmful chemicals in the water supplies and it disturbs the land. This map, http://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/drilling/ show where natural gas drilling has been conducted in regions that are urban or poor. The geographical region around the Pittsburg Area, shows a connection to an urban area, like Beijing, China, experiencing development that is negative for human health from the biproducts of development. If Pennsylvania would focus more on using wind and solar energy instead of natural gas as a developmental alternative, then human health would be less at risk. In the areas impacted by harmful pollution due to development, all three of these geographic regions have lower socioeconomic status. This further proves that poor and often minority populations are more likely to live closer to facilities that have negative health effects.