A WREXHAM campaigner is hoping to present the President of Ecuador with his 27,000-signature petition to help save millions of acres of Amazon rainforest.
Luke Ashley, 49, started an online petition last October as part of his campaign to protect the forest, and the rights of indigenous people in the area, from the effects of companies bidding to extract oil and gas.
A former North Sea oil and gas drill crew worker, Luke is now an eco-campaigner.
His online petition has attracted international attention, and now he wants to personally hand his petition over to Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa.
“I will be 50 in May and I can think of nothing else better for my birthday than to at least try to do something for not only the Amazon rainforest and the indigenous people within, but also the rest of the world,” he said.
“The petition has gained more than 27,000 signatures since I created it and is gaining an average of 2,000 per week.
“I am not affiliated with any NGOs (non-governmental organisations) or non profits but thought I would help the Pachamama Alliance by starting a petition of my own.”
The Pachamama Alliance and Amazon Watch work with indigenous peoples to protect their land, livelihoods and rights.
Luke, of Borras, now works as a warehouse operative and delivery driver for a flooring company and lives with wife Janet, a teaching assistant and learning coach, and their two young boys.
“I am struggling to keep up with the bills and shopping, so paying for a return ticket to Ecuador is out of the question,” he said.
“I have the option of sending the petition via email, but there is no guarantee the recipients will even open it or take it seriously.
“If I was there in person, I could at least have a local reporter with me at the time of handing over the petition so there would be no hiding or ignoring the issue."
In a letter to President Correa he expresses his concerns about plans for oil drilling in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
To support Luke’s petition go to www.causes.com/actions/1696149-defend-indigenous-people-and-the-amazon.