We told you about Brazil’s plans to destroy 600 acres of rainforest through the Belo Monte Dam project, and with more plans for socially and environmentally destructive dam projects popping up, leaders from Amazon indigenous tribes are pleading for help.
Sting and Bianca Jagger are rallying behind three indigenous leaders who traveled to London on Tuesday to fight against the dams planned for the Amazon basin. The leaders, Chief Almir Narayamoga Surui, of the Suruí tribe of the Madeira River Basin in Brazil, Ruth Buendia Mestoquiari, President of Central Asháninka of the Ene River in Peru, and Sheyla Yakarepi Juruna, a rep of the Juruna tribe from the Xingu River Basin in Brazil, are trying to raise awareness and highlight that their peoples rights are being violated.
The dam construction will not only destroy and manipulate the natural flow of the Amazon rainforest, but also will leave thousands of forest dwelling natives without a home.
“In its voracious appetite for energy, and facing concerted opposition at home for its plans to dam rivers in the Amazon Basin, Brazil is now looking to colonize parts of neighboring countries for energy production,” Sting said. “This does not solve the environmental problems caused by large dams in rainforests nor reduce the impacts on indigenous people— it merely exports them. Peru’s Asháninka people have been granted the legal rights to their land in the Peruvian Amazon, and this should not be arbitrarily overturned by a Brazilian company, in defiance of international law on the rights of indigenous peoples.”
The Brazilian Government has plans for mega-dam projects in the Xingu, Madeira, and Tapajós river basins, which include the controversial Belo Monte Dam and Madeira Dam Complex (both in the Brazilian Amazon). Then there are six additional dam projects, including the Pakitzapango Dam in the Peruvian Amazon, which threaten communities of indigineous and non-indigenous people who have been living in these forests for thousands of years.
The delegation of three Amazon leaders from these potentially displaced tribes highlighted alternatives for Brazil and Peru to explore in order to meet their energy needs, while also urging that the rights of their people be respected in the process so that their livelihood, which depends on the rivers ecosystems, is not disrupted.
Last year James Cameron compared the plight of the indigenous people of the Amazon to the Na’vi people he created in his box office hit Avatar, which is really saying something considering they were all nearly killed!
If you are looking for ways to get involved, the Rainforest Foundation UK has a great website chock full of information on the projects,and a section called “What You Can Do” which offers options like volunteering and donating to help the cause.