Thursday, September 29, 2011

Belo Monte dam

Today I witnessed one of the saddest pictures I have ever seen. This is Chief Raoni crying when he learned that the President of Brazil approved the Belo Monte dam project on the Xingu indigenous lands. The Belo Monte dam will be the third largest dam in the world. The large problem with this is it will take up 80% of the Xingu River completely diverting it on a different route and basically causing a permanent drought. This doesn't seem to be a problem for the city people who only see the benefits of more hydroelectric energy, but it is a huge problem for the tribes who's lives depend on the life in this river. The government believes the dam is a part of the "green development" in Brazil when in reality they are completely destroying the natural land that already exists. explains, "For the Xingu's poor farmers, temporary employment created by the dam is not a viable replacement for lost agricultural lands and the river's fish supply. Considered an "obstacle" to business interests, indigenous peoples are particularly vulnerable. Mega-projects typically confront indigenous communities with disease, loss of food and clean water sources, cultural disintegration and human rights abuses by illegal loggers, migrant workers and land speculators. The indirect and long term impacts of Belo Monte are of even greater concern as other unsustainable industries such as aluminum and metal refineries, soy plantations, logging, and mining expand into the area." Such projects can not continue to go on. The more the government wants to grow bigger and better the more natural areas they are destroying which will only leave to bigger issues in the long run.

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