Message #265: From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG To: "'Matthias Giessler'" Subject: Internet Access and Typewriters Date: Sat, 19 Jul 1997 20:02:23 -0700 From: Brian Kenny Information Age Rainforest - Internet Access and Typewriters The July 17 edition of the Wall Street Journal carried on the front page an article titled "Green Acres - Oil Companies Strive To Turn a New Leaf To Save Rain Forest - Shell, Mobil Want to Avoid Raising Ire of Activists At Massive Peru Project - But Skeptics Wait and See" Interesting key points: Working at Camisea, Royal Dutch Shell has hired a Cambridge-trained anthropologist and a team of biologists from the Smithsonian Institution. Alonso Zarzar is charged with creating a development strategy for the Indians within the Camisea concession. The company says it wants to take better care of the environment as well as make sure local villagers directly affected by their operations actually benefit from them. Big companies are coming around to the idea "that if you do things right from the start, it will save you a lot of money and a lot of grief in the long run," says Thomas Lovejoy, a Smithsonian scientist and leading rain-forest expert. Shell believes it Camisea project is "a model in the way it is taking due recognition of the environment, local people and the government." The project is subject to Peru's new petroleum laws that include environmental regulations. Shell has pledged not to build any roads in the region. Logistics are managed by helicopter. Locals believe Shell may still be polluting the rivers, but shell says it isn't so and that people are simply getting sick from bacteria in ther rivers. The fact that news gets around so fast in the jungle levels the playing field somewhat between Shell and the poor villages that pepper the riverbanks of the concession area. Environemntal web sites publish information usually sooner than later. The local Indian communities have a list of basic demands for Shell to fulfill -- promises to build a schoolhouse, provide electric power, a new blade for the sawmill, a rice husker, a community center, a radio and an antenna, and, a typewriter in order to make demands more formally.