Saturday, October 1, 2011

Trouble in the Amazon Rainforest of Brazil


The Brazilian government has made a decision to move forward in building the 3rd largest dam in the world, called the Belo Monte dam, on the Xingu River to battle the country's periodic blackouts and as a new approach to "clean" development. The dam will also provide power to Brazilian families' homes at the cost of 40 billion dollars over the next three years. In order to accomplish the task, 80% of the river will be diverted from it's original course into two canals that will unearth more land than what was removed to build the Panama Canal- most likely causing a horrific drought on that portion of the river, and affecting the indigenous people of the respective territories. On the flip side of the river, massive flooding will force over 20,000 native people to flee their homes.

Amazon Watch reported last week that a Brazilian judge has ordered for construction to stop due to the risk of damaging fish stocks on the river. Even though the government proclaims that it is a step forward in progress, the National Amazon Research Institute has calculated that forests flooded by the dam's reservoirs will produce huge amounts of methane, which is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

The value of life for the indigenous people now that a massive project will take over their land is very apparent. The people's isolation and protection from many of the diseases will be taken away, resources cut down and killed, loss of clean water if water at all, and homes lost.

Photo Credit: Thanks to my friend Vinodh for informing and sharing. "Chief Raoni crying when he learned that the President of Brazil approved the Belo Monte dam project on the Xingu indigenous lands. Belo Monte will be bigger than the Panama Canal, flooding nearly a million acres of rainforest & indigenous lands. 40,000 indigenous and local people will be forced off their native lands (as well as millions of unknown species & plants) in the name of "progress."

Amazon Watch held their 15th Anniversary Luncheon last week, where Sheyla Juruna an indigenous woman warrior, spoke to attendees about saving her home, the Amazon.
Sheyla's speech read:

"Good afternoon to everyone.

First of all, I would like to thank Amazon Watch for the opportunity they are giving me to share the reality of the indigenous peoples living in the Brazilian Amazon.

I come from a region rich in biodiversity, bathed by the country's most important river, the Xingu river, that has its banks protected by the forest and by 25 distinct indigenous ethnic groups that live throughout its basin. Now, all of this is threatened by the "project of death" imposed by Brazilian Federal Government that is the Belo Monte Dam.

We've been fighting against this project for more than 20 years. It is already causing disastrous environmental impacts, land conflicts, and has provoked death threats of indigenous leaders. Amid this crisis, the government is determined to move forward with its decision and they are not open to dialogue with affected communities.

However, we do not consider Belo Monte a fait accompli. For this reason, all that remains to us is to make a last stand, so that we can defeat this monster, and for this struggle we need your help. Can I count on you? I hope so.

I would like to ask you to follow our day to day cause by following Amazon Watch's work to support us. Even though you can't be physically present in the Amazon, if you can contribute to this struggle, for the life of our future generations, and for the life of the planet, you will show that we are together in this, and that we will win this battle.

I want you to know that our fight against Belo Monte is a struggle that has the goal of preserving the life of the forest and the life of the people that rely on the forest for their survival, trying to show the world that there are another ways of generating energy that are truly sustainable.

If the Amazon rainforest dies then we will all go with it, because the planet is also threatened by global warming, climate change, and all those consequences are disastrous for our lives.
I hope I can count on your support, and that any help you give will come from your hearts, your souls, and with love.

To finalize, I want to congratulate Amazon Watch for its 15th anniversary, and say that the work you are doing in the Amazon region is an example for the world to be aware that life is worth more than greed and short term profit of big moneyed interests.

It is nature itself that gives us the strength to resist, to live, and to fight. Thank You!"

This afternoon I signed the petition to help raise an international call to the Brazilian government to take up the responsibility they hold and stop the construction of the dam for the sake of the native peoples, the eco-system and natural resources of Brazil, and the world's dependency on the Amazon for sustaining our climate and balance. You should do the same by clicking the link below, every signature helps.


  1. Thank you for visiting my blog and entering the Giveaway and supporting my etsy shop. What is happening in Brazil just breaks my heart. Thank you for bringing this to our awareness. I am going to share it with my daughter who is a International Relations major in college and journalist.

  2. You're very welcome Kerrie! Love your shop and artwork, hope to win the giveaway ;) Absolutely, it is horrible. I found out two days ago from a friend I went to college with who is now a sustainability manager for Labcon Inc. I hope the international community becomes more involved in the issue to prevent it from being fully developed. It's saddening to think about what might happen to the ways of life in 3yrs because of the Brazilian government's choice of action. What a great major, hope she enjoys her studies. Thank you for continuing to share the story.

  3. HI Tiffany!
    I came to your blog after finding you on facebook! Thank you so much for sharing some of our work with your friends! We appreciate that. I'm going to go look around at your shop on etsy! Great to have a new friend~~~ Beth

  4. Thanks for visiting Beth! Great to have connected with you and SearchnRescue2 :)


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