Thesis Project


alt tagRoughly the size of Nevada, the South American nation of Ecuador boasts one of the highest diversities of flora, fauna and ecosystems on Earth. For over 30 years, its indigenous peoples have clashed with multi-national oil corporations in the Amazon basin region known as the Oriente. Oil corporations have often prospected for and extracted oil illegally, polluting with impunity from an Ecuadorian government that relies on petroleum as the nation's primary export.

Indigenous groups have increasingly organized to pressure the government to recognize their rights to control over lands, resources and destiny. Although national and international law supports indigenous claims, the government recently commenced leasing large new tracts of pristine rainforest to oil corporations. The government also approved construction of a massive oil pipeline that will cross through indigenous lands and protected natural reserves - as well as several earthquake fault zones.

For my thesis project at the University of Florida, I plan to document the effects of the oil industry in Ecuador's Oriente. My project will consist of a photographic component and a written story. I will examine the social conditions of settlements already impacted by the oil industry and of threatened communities still clinging to traditional lifestyles, as well as the emerging power of indigenous identity.

Learn more about the oil industry in Ecuador
The Advocacy Project
Learn more about the indigenous rights movement in Ecuador
Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador