Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Ecuador's Oil Legacy: Media Skills, Justice & Preservation

As part of the grades 6-12 Curriculum Writing Project sponsored by the Latin American Resource Center (LARC), the Stone Center presents a dynamic, two-part curriculum based on the documentary ¡Justicia Now!, winner of the Grand Jury Best of the Festival prize at Tulane’s Biennial Latin American Environmental Media Festival. ¡Justicia Now! brings to light Chevron Texaco’s toxic legacy in the Northern Ecuadorian region of the Amazon rainforest and a courageous group of people called “Los Afectados” (“The Affected Ones”), who seek justice for the ensuing cancer, sickness and death in the largest environmental class action lawsuit in history.

Unit 1 of the curriculum teaches students about not only the cultures, history geography of the Amazonian rainforest but also why it must be preserved. Students will get a glimpse into the problems that oil companies and the toxic oil have caused for the environment, animals, inhabitants and the rainforest as a whole. Unit 2 asks students to create a futuristic newscast announcing the end of all available crude oil on earth. Beginning with the film, ¡Justicia Now!”, as the foundation of the unit, students will learn about the implications of current and future oil drilling in vulnerable places like Ecuador; learn how thoroughly most current American lifestyles depend on oil production; imagine how their lives would change with the sudden loss of all oil; and utilize writing, collaboration (and possibly media) skills to develop a futuristic newscast which investigates a fictional scenario: the sudden end of all crude oil available for drilling on earth.

Filmmakers Robbie Proctor and Martin O’Brien of MoFilms presented their award-winning film at the 20th Annual New Orleans Film Festival in October of 2009. You can learn more about MoFilms and their work using film to increase awareness on critical social and environmental issues by visiting their site, Mofilms.org.

UNITS

Ecuador + People
Katharine Jack
Associate Professor - Anthropology