Eye on the Amazon: The Official Blog of Amazon Watch

"Rivers Teach Us to Ignore Borders and Continue the Struggle"

Declaration of the Xingu Alive Forever Movement

April 16, 2014

Rivers Teach Us to Ignore Borders and Continue the Struggle

Justice Now!

Join the worldwide chorus calling for justice by urging Brazil's Supreme Court to rule on lawsuits against the Belo Monte Dam!

TAKE ACTION

Translated by Amazon Watch

In the last week of March, representatives from communities and all of the ally organizations of the Xingu Alive Forever Movement met in Altamira (Pará, Brazil).

The idea was to take a deep look into ourselves, to look to the Xingu and the Amazon to think about the paths we have chosen so far and the direction that we want to choose from now on. This was our conclusion:

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We Did It! ¡Todos Somos Yasunidos!

April 15, 2014 | Leila Salazar-Lopez


Sign the Petition
for an Oil-Free Yasuní

Sign the petition to save Yasuní –
the most biodiverse part of the Amazon.

TAKE ACTION

On Saturday, April 12th, something incredibly inspiring happened in Ecuador. Yasunidos or "United for Yasuní," a civil society collective of environmentalists, artists, activists, and indigenous leaders, delivered nearly 800,000 signatures to the National Elections Commission (CNE) calling for a national referendum to decide if oil should remain under Block 43/ITT in Yasuní National Park indefinitely.

A couple of months ago collecting over 600,000 signatures, the amount needed to qualify for a referendum, seemed almost impossible. But, for Yasunidos and its allies around the world, what was impossible – unfathomable, really – was the government proposal to drill in Yasuní-ITT, one of the last remaining parts of the Yasuní National Park free from oil drilling. Yasuní is an area of extremely high biodiversity located in the Amazon region of Ecuador. The park was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1989 and contains what are thought to be the greatest number of plant and animal species anywhere on the planet including one of the biggest populations of jaguars. It is also home to numerous indigenous peoples including two nomadic Waorani clans, the Tagaeri and Taromenane, who shun contact with the outside world.

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"There Are Many Chico Mendes Around the World"

April 8, 2014 | Andrew E. Miller

Franco ViteriFranco Viteri, indigenous leader from the Ecuadorian Amazon, remembers hearing about the death of Chico Mendes. The lasting impression of Chico's example – a quarter century after his assassination – inspired Franco to participate in the Chico Vive! conference this past weekend. Amazon Watch, a conference co-sponsor, was honored to facilitate his presence.

Chico was a humble and brilliant Brazilian labor and environmental activist. He played a key role in promoting the alternative "extractive reserve" model, in which forests are sustainably harvested of their many riches like Brazil nuts and rubber, without causing harm much less clear-cutting them. The son of a local cattle rancher killed Chico on December 22nd, 1988.

As Franco stated during his presentation, "There are many Chico Mendes around the world." An impressive mix of them were in attendance – women and men who take daily risks in defense of both human rights and the environment. Over the weekend grassroots activists shared their wisdom from Latin America (Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala) to Asia (Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines) to Africa (Liberia, Tanzania). Indigenous leaders from Australia and Canada illustrated the universality of struggles to defend territory, culture, and nature.

Over the gathering, those leaders detailed the threats to local people and their surroundings: large-scale dams, oil palm plantations, hydro-fracking, mining, oil drilling, other infrastructure projects, roads… Imagine your community is being negatively impacted by one of those projects. So you stand up, demanding the government protects your rights to clean water, clean air, safe food. When your campaign gains some traction, you start to receive threats to your safety and other intimidation.

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Belo Monte Under Renewed Legal Attack

Brazilian high court demands new environmental study, threatening to paralyze mega-dam

April 1, 2014

Belo Monte Under Renewed Legal Attack

Justice Now!

Join the worldwide chorus calling for justice by urging Brazil's Supreme Court to rule on lawsuits against the Belo Monte Dam!

TAKE ACTION

Translated by Henrique Gobbi

On March 26th a commission of Brazil's Federal Circuit Court (TRF1) ruled upon an appeal from the Public Prosecutor's office (MPF) stemming from Public Civil Action lawsuit that reveals major irregularities in Belo Monte's Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The original lawsuit dates from 2010 when the MPF's original lawsuit questioning the EIA was rejected, paving the way to the approval of the dam's Provisional License, or Licença Previa (LP), which allowed Belo Monte to proceed to auction.

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¡Yasuní Depende de Ti!

Celebrities rise in solidarity with Ecuadorians to defend the Amazon

March 28, 2014 | Caroline Bennett


Sign the Petition
for an Oil-Free Yasuní

Sign the petition to save Yasuní –
the most biodiverse part of the Amazon.

TAKE ACTION

"The future is in your hands," said Oscar award winning actor Jared Leto, urging Ecuadorian voters to sign for an oil-free Yasuní.

"Yasuní is home to Ecuador's last indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation," actress Michelle Monaghan chimes in, stopping to film the urgent plea during a recent visit to San Francisco. "Their survival is worth more than a few days' oil."

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