Northern Kentucky University

Poster Title

Conversation in Ecuador: An Ethnographic Investigation of Awareness and Attitudes Towards Oil Drilling and Conservation

Institution

Northern Kentucky University

Abstract

Since Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, lifted bans on oil drilling in the pristine Yasuní National Park of the Amazon, oil drilling has greatly expanded. Most Ecuadorians are aware of oil drilling and its effects on the environment. However, it is not known whether specific populations have a greater interest in the topic. On-site interviews were conducted with native Ecuadorians categorized in three groups: urban dwellers, those living in a rural setting, and indigenous populations. The purpose was to explore citizens’ awareness and attitudes toward oil drilling and conservation. The hypothesis was that individuals living in rural and indigenous areas would have a greater interest in the impact of oil drilling and conservation efforts because of their increased opportunity for direct exposure to the environment and wildlife. Consequentially, it was hypothesized that citizens living in urban cities would have less interest in the negative effects of oil drilling and ways in which to curb hazardous activities that harm the environment. Our findings indicated that a citizen’s area of permanent residence did not necessarily impact the individual’s awareness of the topic. We found that indigenous peoples were opposed to oil drilling and were concerned with preserving their resources and homes. Those who had frequent contact with wildlife expressed a deep concern about oil drilling. A clear conclusion could not be made on urban citizens’ awareness of oil drilling and conservation because some citizens only had general awareness of the topic. Thus, our hypothesis was rejected, as it was concluded that a citizen’s residency does not necessarily affect their interest or concern regarding oil drilling and conservation in Ecuador. Instead, we concluded that an individual’s career, travel opportunities, and use of free time provided a better indication of personal awareness of the topic.

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Conversation in Ecuador: An Ethnographic Investigation of Awareness and Attitudes Towards Oil Drilling and Conservation

Since Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, lifted bans on oil drilling in the pristine Yasuní National Park of the Amazon, oil drilling has greatly expanded. Most Ecuadorians are aware of oil drilling and its effects on the environment. However, it is not known whether specific populations have a greater interest in the topic. On-site interviews were conducted with native Ecuadorians categorized in three groups: urban dwellers, those living in a rural setting, and indigenous populations. The purpose was to explore citizens’ awareness and attitudes toward oil drilling and conservation. The hypothesis was that individuals living in rural and indigenous areas would have a greater interest in the impact of oil drilling and conservation efforts because of their increased opportunity for direct exposure to the environment and wildlife. Consequentially, it was hypothesized that citizens living in urban cities would have less interest in the negative effects of oil drilling and ways in which to curb hazardous activities that harm the environment. Our findings indicated that a citizen’s area of permanent residence did not necessarily impact the individual’s awareness of the topic. We found that indigenous peoples were opposed to oil drilling and were concerned with preserving their resources and homes. Those who had frequent contact with wildlife expressed a deep concern about oil drilling. A clear conclusion could not be made on urban citizens’ awareness of oil drilling and conservation because some citizens only had general awareness of the topic. Thus, our hypothesis was rejected, as it was concluded that a citizen’s residency does not necessarily affect their interest or concern regarding oil drilling and conservation in Ecuador. Instead, we concluded that an individual’s career, travel opportunities, and use of free time provided a better indication of personal awareness of the topic.