Just ask

19 May

I’ve been subscribed for a while to Amazon Watch, an organization that works to save the rainforest. They’ve been lobbying Chevron for quite a while to clean up their operations in Ecuador, which has effected the environment and health of many of the indigenous and local residents there. Here’s an article related to Chevron’s resistance to be accountable:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/han-shan/chevrons-dirty-tricks-ope_b_276063.html

So recently I signed a petition calling for Chevron to clean up their operations. <http://amazonwatch.org/take-action/send-chevron-a-message?&gt; While doing so, I noticed that my country was listed as Taiwan, Province of China. Annoying when that happens. I felt offended. While I don’t usually like argue about nationality in the face of much bigger issues (environmental crisis, war…etc), I felt that in the many areas Taiwan was having our territory sequestered by name, efforts like the Amazon Watch had no reason to join the game in demeaning the reality of our national situation. So I wrote them this letter.

12:00 May 18, 2011

Hi Thomas,

I noticed that you are the Technical Manager for Amazon Watch, so you might help me out on this. I just signed the petition for Telling Chevron to clean up the Ecuador, but was slightly turned off by needing to list my country, Taiwan, as “Taiwan, Province of China”. A lot of other online registration and petition sites I’ve been to simply list “Taiwan”. Could you please fix this? If I didn’t feel strongly about the issue, I probably wouldn’t have signed it due to the fact that the listing disrespects my origins.

This is not a pro-independent/Nationalistic agenda I’m trying to put forward, nor do I wish to rock the boat in any way for your organization’s admirable efforts in helping the indigenous people of Ecuador. It’s simply a matter of feeling slighted.

Thanks so much!

Grace.

And very quickly I got this reply.

05:04 May 19, 2011

Absolutely!

Grace, thank you very much for bringing this to our attention. My name is Michael Zap, and I’m the website coordinator for Amazon Watch. For our country drop-down lists I just used a standard list that I gleaned from the internet, and I didn’t review all of the countries in the list. I have changed your country’s name to “Taiwan” on all of our forms now. The actual data that we store is only your two-digit country code in any case (TW), so you won’t be receiving anything from us mentioning “Province of China.”

Thanks again, and have a great day!

Michael Zap

Amazon Watch

Yay. I’m glad it’s sorted out. If you go to their petition site here <http://amazonwatch.org/take-action/send-chevron-a-message?&gt;, you’ll notice that the name is now correct!

This gives me more faith in the goodwill of Amazon Watch. Here is their website:

http://amazonwatch.org/

Also, if you’re living in Taiwan, there’s an opportunity to show your support for the amazon forest whenever you buy coffee! I always buy UCC’s coffee that uses 30% Rainforest Alliance beans. Rainforest Alliance coffees are farmed under permaculture conditions that allows the rainforest to retain its biodiversity, and also tries to protect the interests of farmers. For more info on rainforest alliance coffee:

http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/agriculture/crops/coffee

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