Activists Join Indigenous People to Protest Construction of Amazon Mega-Dam

Greenpeace join the Munduruku to protest against the construction of a hydroelectric project on Tapajós River in Pará state


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Photo Credit: Greenpeace / Marizilda Cruppe

Greenpeace activists joined the Munduruku deep in the Amazon rainforest to protest the construction of a major hydroelectric project. The group gathered at a beach on the banks of the Tapajos River and displayed a message in the sand that read "Free Tapajós". The beach is located near the waterfall of the "São Luiz do Tapajós" project, the first of five hydroelectric dams planned for the region.

The mega-dam, planned to produce 8,040 MW of power, was set to go to auction on December 15th, only five months after the government officially requested the license for construction from IBAMA (the Brazilian environmental agency). The Ministry of Mines and Energy suspended the first auction after it was exposed that they had not properly consulted the Munduruku on the construction of the dam.

"On the eve of another global conference on climate, Brazil remains invested in old ways of thinking and their plans to dam the great rivers of the Amazon. These dams threaten to destroy parts of the Amazon rainforest and ignore the legal rights of the traditional peoples of the region," said Danicley de Aguiar, Forest Campaigner for Greenpeace Brazil.

The protest is part of a series of demonstrations against the construction of hydroelectric dams on the Tapajós River. On Thursday, the 27th, the Munduruku were joined by international NGOs and religious leaders Dom Erwin Kräutler, Bishop of Xingu, along with three other bishops – one of the Madeira River and two bishops of the Tapajós River to protest the building of the "São Luiz do Tapajós".

Brazil does not need to destroy the Amazon to produce energy. Huge potential remains in other renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar, biomass and even ocean energy. Wind could produce three times the current demand for electricity in Brazil. Solar energy is the fastest growing energy source in the world with prices falling consistently. The potential of solar generation in Brazil could supply up to ten times the nation's energy needs. This year, Brazil had its first solar auction setting the country on a course in the right direction: the diversification of energy sources, with complementary sources.

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