Tag Archives: Amazon

Update From the Amazon: No Consultation, No Construction!

31 May

Posted from International Rivers

Indigenous protesters are once again occupying the construction site of the Belo Monte Dam in the Brazilian Amazon to shed light on how hydroelectric mega-dams cause serious environmental and social impacts and destroy the way of life of the region’s peoples and traditional communities. For example, the construction of Belo Monte will cause 100 km (60 miles) of the Xingu to dry out on the river’s Big Bend if completed. In the case of the hydroelectric dams planned for the Tapajós River, the ancient riverside villages of the Mundurukú people would be completely flooded.

Indigenous protesters occupied the Belo Monte Dam construction site in early and late May 2013 to protest the government’s lack of consultation with affected communities thorugh out the Amazon.
Photo courtesy of Ruy Sposati via mundurukudenuncia on Flickr

This is the second occupation of Belo Monte’s construction site in less than a month. On May 2nd the indigenous protestors occupied the same work camp and stayed there for eight days. They left the last occupation peacefully because the federal government ensured that there would be a negotiation, which did not happen. In this case the protestors guarantee that they will maintain their occupation until representatives of the federal government talk with them and meet their demands.

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Peru Spares Amazon Rainforest From Oil And Gas Push

16 May

Ashanika warriors occupy oil boat in the Peruvian Amazon, May 2009

Cross Posted From Root Force

This article from the Guardian shows why indigenous movements have fought so hard for Peru’s new law requiring extractive industry to consult with affected indigenous communities, why industrial interests have so consistently opposed, and why mining companies pushed so hard for the recent decision that excluded millions of indigenous Peruvians from that law’s protection. Note, of course, that the oil company is making it clear that they will still go ahead with exploiting indigenous lands whether the affected communities like it or not. We’ll see what the communities have to say about that.

Peru spares Amazon rainforest from oil and gas push

New hydrocarbon sites will all be offshore, but campaigners fear contentious oil and gas development in Amazon will still go ahead

Peru has announced a bidding round for new oil and gas concessions but, contrary to what was initially expected, none of them are in the Amazon rainforest.

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Indigenous Peoples Stop Dam Construction With New Occupation at Belo Monte Site

2 May

Cross Posted from Amazon Watch:

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Altamira, Brazil – Some 200 indigenous people affected by the construction of large hydroelectric dams in the Amazon launched an occupation today on one of the main construction sites of the Belo Monte dam complex on the Xingu River in the Brazilian Amazon. The group demands that the Brazilian government adopt effective legislation on prior consultations with indigenous peoples regarding projects that affect their lands and livelihoods. As this has not happened, they are demanding the immediate suspension of construction, technical studies and police operations related to dams along the Xingu, Tapajos and Teles Pires rivers. Shock troops of the military police were awaiting indigenous protestors when they arrived at the Belo Monte dam site, but they were unable to impede the occupation.

The indigenous protestors include members of the Juruna, Kayapó, Xipaya, Kuruaya, Asurini, Parakanã, Arara tribes from the Xingu River, as well as warriors of the Munduruku, a large tribe from the neighboring Tapajós river basin. The indigenous peoples are joined by fishermen and local riverine communities from the Xingu region. Initial reports indicate that approximately 6,000 workers at one of the main Belo Monte construction sites, Pimental, have ceased operations as a result of the protest. The occupation, according to the indigenous communities, will continue indefinitely or until the federal government meets their demands.

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In Arizona and Peru: Why Reform Won’t Work

1 May

Cross Posted from Root Force:

Indigneous Quechua-speakers in Peru have been at the forefront of the battle against Newmont Mining Corp's Minas Conga gold mine.

Indigneous Quechua-speakers in Peru have been at the forefront of the battle against Newmont Mining Corp’s Minas Conga gold mine.

Two recent news stories highlight the fundamental problem with directing reformist efforts at a global economic system that is founded on colonialism, genocide and extinction. While of course it’s important to use a diversity of tactics to achieve our goals, and while it’s important to recognize and celebrate even partial victories, these stories remind us how the system reacts when we achieve victories that actually threaten its ongoing profits:

• Despite a 2012 ban on hard-rock mining in a one million acre area surrounding the Grand Canyon, the uranium mining firm Energy Fuels Resources has been given federal approval to reopen its Canyon Mine. The rationale? The company’s “rights” to extract a poisonous fuel by destroying the Grand Canyon, the surrounding watershed, and indigenous territory predate the ban.

• In Peru, the government is rolling back a landmark indigenous rights law at the behest of mining companies. Under the new policy, mining companies no longer need to even consult with the vast majority of Peru’s indigenous peoples before proceeding with plans to destroy their land.

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New Documentary Debunks Monster Dams

25 Apr

damocracy-logo

Cross posted from Root Force

Damocracy the movie has been released, chronicling the struggles of communities a world apart to defend their rivers from monster dams masquerading as “clean” energy: the Belo Monte dam on the Xingu River in Brazil and the Ilisu Dam on the Tigris River in Turkey. Watch it here.

The 34-minute documentary is an excellent primer on the problems posed by mega-dam projects anywhere in the world, from their environmental and social impacts (including a greater global warming impacts than coal plants) to the way they are forced through over widespread opposition by affected communities, often by means of shady legal tactics.

Kayapo Dancers vow to defend their territory from Brazil’s plans for the Belo Monte Dam in 2008

Kayapo Dancers vow to defend their territory from Brazil’s plans for the Belo Monte Dam in 2008

The Belo Monte and Ilisu dams are classic examples of the type of globalized infrastructure that is meant to prop up the global economy and send resources flowing to the wealthy at the expense of all people and life on earth, with indigenous and other land-based cultures often the most affected.

Please watch the film and forward it around, or host screenings to help publicize these struggles. Both dams have already been canceled once before, and continue to face fierce opposition.  May they both go the way of La Parota!

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Ecuador to Sell A Third Of Its Amazon Rainforest to Chinese Oil Companies

3 Apr

Ecuador is planning to auction off three million of the country’s 8.1 million hectares of pristine Amazonian rainforest to Chinese oil companies, Jonathan Kaiman of The Guardian reports.

The report comes as oil pollution forced neighboring Peru to declare an environmental state of emergency in its northern Amazon rainforest.

Ecuador owed China more than $7 billion — more than a tenth of its GDP — as of last summer. Continue reading

Deforestation in the Amazon Decreasing Rainfall

16 Sep

New research on the way air carries moisture confirms that deforestation has a major effect on tropical rainfall.

A team from the University of Leeds and the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology found that over large regions of the tropics air that had traveled over a more forested landscape in the preceding few days produced at least twice as much rain as air that had traveled over deforested land.

By combining these observations with a future projection of Amazonian deforestation, the researchers estimate up to 21 per cent less rainfall in the dry season across the Amazon basin by 2050.

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Loggers ‘burned Amazon tribe girl alive’ to force tribe to leave forest

18 Jan

By / The Telegraph

Loggers in Brazil captured an eight-year-old girl from one of the Amazon’s last uncontacted tribes and burned her alive as part of a campaign to force the indigenous population from its land, reports claimed on Tuesday night.

Luis Carlos Guajajaras, a local leader from a separate tribe, told a Brazilian news website that they tied to her a tree and set her alight as a warning to other natives Photo: AP

The child was said to have wandered away from her village, where around 60 members of the Awá tribe live in complete isolation from the modern world, and fallen into the hands of the loggers.

Luis Carlos Guajajaras, a local leader from a separate tribe, told a Brazilian news website that they tied to her a tree and set her alight as a warning to other natives, who live in a protected reserve in the north-eastern state of Maranhão .

“She was from another tribe, they live deep in the jungle, and have no contact with the outside world. It would have been the first time she had ever seen white men. We heard that they laughed as they burned her to death,” he said.

Reports of the killing, which was said to have happened in October or November last year, were seconded by the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI), a Catholic group which said it had seen footage of her charred remains.

A spokesman for the Brazil’s Indian Affairs Department said the government was urgently investigating the claims.

Huge iron ore deposits and valuable timber have encouraged mining and logging companies to enter the forests of Maranhão despite laws designed to protect the few remaining uncontacted tribes, often leading to violent clashes.

Around 450 tribes people have were murdered in Brazil between 2003 and 2010, according to figures from CIMI.

Survival International, a charity for tribal groups, warned that a third of the Awá’s land had already been destroyed and that their nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle was being threatened as animals fled in the face of the approaching logging companies.

Agent Orange Being Used to Clear the Amazon

7 Jul

Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Agent Orange is one of the most devastating weapons of modern warfare, a chemical which killed or injured an estimated 400,000 people during the Vietnam War — and now it’s being used against the Amazon rainforest. According to officials, ranchers in Brazil have begun spraying the highly toxic herbicide over patches of forest as a covert method to illegally clear foliage, more difficult to detect that chainsaws and tractors. In recent weeks, an aerial survey detected some 440 acres of rainforest that had been sprayed with the compound — poisoning thousands of trees and an untold number of animals, potentially for generations.

Last week, in another part of the Amazon, an investigation conducted by the agency uncovered approximately four tons of the highly toxic herbal pesticides hidden in the forest awaiting dispension. If released, the chemicals could have potentially decimated some 7,500 acres of rainforest, killing all the wildlife that resides there and contaminating groundwater. In this case, the individual responsible was identified and now faces fines nearing $1.3 million.

“They [deforesters] have changed their strategy because, in a short time, more areas of forest can be destroyed with herbicides. Thus, they don’t need to mobilize tree-cutting teams and can therefore bypass the supervision of IBAMA,” says Jerfferson Lobato of IBAMA.

Last month, over three decades after Agent Orange was last used in Vietnam, the US began funding a $38 million decontamination operation there. Meanwhile, in the Brazilian Amazon, the highly toxic chemical was being discovered anew and sprayed over the rainforest.

To read more, see the full write-up at Treehugger

Anti-logging activist Jose Ribeiro murdered

26 May

Maria do Espirito Santo Silva and José Claudio Ribeiro da Silva, were killed in the northeast Brazilian Amazon state of Para

An Amazon environmental activist and his wife were killed late on Monday and the crime is being investigated as a possible assassination to silence the outspoken forest defender, according to police.
José Claudio Ribeiro da Silva, also known by his nickname of “Ze Claudio,” was shot and killed along with his wife, Maria do Espírito Santo da Silva, in Nova Ipixuna, a rural town of 15,000 people in the northeast Brazilian Amazon state of Para, about 40km from the nearest city, Maraba.


Exact details and circumstances of the death are not yet clear. However, Felicio Pontes a federal prosecutor in Para state, as well as Marcos Augusto Cruz, the local civil police investigator, told Al Jazeera by phone late on Tuesday that the killings have all the signs of a cold-blooded murder for hire.

“We are working on a hypothesis that this was an execution because the shooters cut off one ear of each of the victims,” Cruz told Al Jazeera.

“Usually this is done as proof to give back to whoever ordered the killings,” Cruz told Al Jazeera, before adding that is was likely he was killed in retaliation for speaking out against illegal loggers.

Ribeiro was a community leader of a rural Amazon sustainable reserve that produces nuts and natural oils native to the forest.

But as loggers moved into Para state, Ribeiro increased his candid denouncements of illegal clear cutting in the region, which earned him praise from environmentalists but allegedly scorn from logging and business interests who hold enormous influence in the heavily deforested region.

Read full article here