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Letter: Shell should stop extracting fossil fuels and look for sustainable alternatives

Whilst I agree with Anita Roddick that the best thing for the forests and indigenous people in Amazonian Peru would be not to extract gas there at all, there is another important side to this (16 February). If environmentalists drive out a company like Shell that will take the environment seriously it is highly likely that someone else will step in and take over. This has certainly happened in the case of petroleum and gas in Ecuador. When some of the multinationals pulled out, local companies with much less concern for the environment came in.

We should try to work with the more responsible companies like Shell and try to influence their environmental policies. In the long-run this is far more likely to preserve both the forest and the peoples of Amazonian Peru.

Prof Sir Ghillean Prance

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Richmond, Surrey