Stop Dirty Dams in the Amazon
Why Are Dams Dirty?
Large dams in the Amazon are among the biggest drivers of environmental destruction and human rights abuses in Brazil today, and are thus not a viable energy solution for the 21st century. Calculating the true cost of a mega-dam is imperative towards understanding its long-reaching impacts.
Aside from the obvious environmental costs – destroying ancient forest habitats and biodiversity through flooding and deforestation – dams displace thousands of indigenous and traditional communities who have lived for generations relying upon river ecosystems. Forest people's cultures are lost as traditional communities, and many people are forced into modern slums imposed by the Western world.
In addition to this displacement and destruction, large dams in the tropics emit huge amounts of methane. Once free-flowing rivers are impeded, biological debris and silt collects in stagnant pools, churning out potent greenhouse gases in the process.
Currently, the Brazilian government has failed to account for the true cost of its mega-dam projects. By neglecting to calculate the full financial, environmental, and social costs, the government is systematically denying basic human rights to many Brazilian communities. Less destructive energy alternatives are viable, yet despite public outcry, the government has failed to develop a more sustainable policy.
Based on the articulated initiatives of Brazilian indigenous communities, Amazon Watch's primary campaign in Brazil aims to stop dirty dams in the Amazon. By supporting the efforts of the region's indigenous people to protect their territory – from the Madeira to the Xingu and the Tapajós River basins – Amazon Watch works to denounce human rights violations and to promote a renewable energy alternative.