Amazon Watch and Empowered by Light (EBL) are successfully bringing electricity to isolated Amazonian tribes, without using harmful fossil fuels. The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation supported both EBL and Amazon Watch as they set up solar power projects to light up the region.
Bringing alternative energy to the region means Amazonian tribes will become more independent from fossil fuels and will allow them to reach out to the outside world.
Community leader Juan Carlos Ruiz of the Sápara region of Ecuador, who received electricity from EBF and Amazon Watch’s project, commented in Amazon Watch, “This will not only give us a renewable energy source, it will allow us to better protect our forest and defend Sápara culture.”
He added the solar power will allow the tribe to “monitor our territory from the mountain tops, better organize among our communities down river, and let the world know what is happening to us so we can enlist their support. And now, the government can’t call us hypocrites for opposing oil extraction yet using dirty diesel generators.”
The newly elected Ecuadorian government has signaled they will allow for Amazon forest oil-drilling plans to continue, according to Amazon Watch, making the need for alternative renewable energy even more urgent.
Ruiz said that the installation of the solar power is “first big step towards being fossil fuel-free” and that “the government should learn from us.”
EBL and Amazon Watch are looking to expand their solar projects to other Amazonian tribes.