Oil’s insidious impact on Ecuador’s culture and biodiversity

By Daniel Grossman

Quito, Ecuador–For anybody who needed convincing, the Deepwater Horizon accident has proven that tapping the Earth for oil can be hazardous for workers and the environment. But oil wells harm the people and wildlife around them even when no pipes break and no fluids leak.

tapir-photo-3.jpgSouth American tapirs, such as this one, are among more than 47 species of animals for sale at the market in Pompeya, Ecuador.

Photo by Daniel Grossman

On a reporting trip last month to Ecuador, I got a glimpse of such insidious damage.

There, in the town of Pompeya, on the edge of Ecuador¹s Amazonian rainforest, I saw rare wildlife dead, and stone-age indigenous cultures shattered.

Few Ecuadorans know that far removed from population centers like Quito, oil drilling causes such impacts. But even if they knew, and even if they considered the price steep,

the South American nation would find changing course difficult. Ecuador¹s second largest export, oil, greases the country¹s financial gears; and by its nature oil extraction disrupts vast swaths of land, along with the people and creatures that live there.

Full story on the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting website>>

Daniel Grossman’s reporting in Bolivia was supported in  part with grants from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the Whole Systems Foundation.

Daniel  Grossman.jpgDaniel Grossman has been a print journalist and radio and web producer for 20 years. He has produced radio stories and documentaries on science and the environment for National Public Radio’s show Weekend Edition; Public Radio International’s show on the environment, Living on Earth, and news magazine, The World. He has written for the New York Times, The Boston Globe, Discover, Audubon and Scientific American.

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Meet the Author
More than forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Max Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. In his 22-year career at National Geographic he was VP and editor in chief of National Geographic Digital Media, and the founding editor of the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directed the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. A regular expert on National Geographic Expeditions, David also lectures on storytelling for impact. He has 120,000 followers on social media: Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn