Preparing for Water Quality Testing in Secoya Territory

I probably should have put more thought in to a backstory I realized as I reached the door of the agrochemical shop. Upon entering I was hit with the chemical stench of industrial fertilizer. The shop was rather bare. Several shelves displayed bottles of different shapes and sizes, whose contents I imagined to be composed […]

Meet the Amazon Tribespeople Who Beat Chevron in Court—but Are Still Fighting for Clean Water

(Photo: Alexander Zaitchik)   This article has been reposted. Original content for the publication can be found at www.takepart.com. Find the link at: http://www.takepart.com/feature/2014/10/30/amazon-tribes-chevron-lawsuit-ecuador-oil-pollution By Alexander Zaitchik Alexander Zaitchik is a freelance writer based in New Orleans. He has written for The New Republic, The Nation, Salon, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, and many others. With the judgment […]

The Yoco Hunters: The Secoya People and the Yoco Vine

By Alex Goff Delfin squats low over a large clay bowl, delicately scraping the orange inner bark of a thick, woody yoco vine. It’s before dawn. The light of a small fire illuminates his sharp features, carved like stone over 85 years of life in the forest. He mixes the pulp with water in a […]

Community Profile: Mauricio Mendua

Sábalo, Cofán Territory Where were you born? I was born near the community of Cofán Dureno. At that time there were no cucamas (white people), there was no oil company, just us Cofán living in the forest. Why did you move to Sábalo? Once the company came life changed for us. The noise, the pollution, […]

Both Sides of the River: Life in Transition for the Siona of the Putumayo

By Alex Goff The vast Putumayo River divides the modern nations of Ecuador and Colombia. The river also defines a geographic region of the Amazon: El Putumayo. The Siona people have inhabited both sides of the river since before either of these two countries existed. They continue to move freely between the two sides, visiting […]

Going Undercover for Water Quality

By Alex Goff, Field Coordinator I probably should have put more thought in to a backstory I realized as I reached the door of the agrochemical shop. Upon entering I was hit with the chemical stench of industrial fertilizer. The shop was rather bare. Several shelves displayed bottles of different shapes and sizes, whose contents […]

Supporting Community Led Environmental Monitoring in the Wake of An Oil Spill

It started as a rainbow sheen on the surface of the turbid waters of the mighty Aguarico River, but within hours it turned into a thick layer of crude oil that stuck to the bottom of canoes, accumulated in stagnant inlets, and smeared the rocky shores of indigenous villages for miles downriver. It was July […]

Building Rainwater Catchment Systems in a Kichwa Community

By Alex Goff, Field Coordinator Before a day of physical labor in the Amazon, it’s customary for the Kichwa people to follow breakfast with a huge bowl of chicha, a thick, slightly fermented yucca beverage. Chicha wards off hunger until the next meal, whenever that may be, and provides a buzz that adds a hop […]

Meet the Indigenous Mappers

Over the past 6 months, ClearWater has supported a group of youth from the indigenous nationalities of the northern Ecuadorian Amazon who have been taking a GIS mapping course at the University of San Francisco in Quito (USFQ). Students are learning the skills and technologies necessary to produce professional and detailed maps. Maps have long been […]