The Belo Monte Dam is currently the largest dam project being considered anywhere on the planet. It aims to be the third largest hydroelectric dam in generating capacity and would be on one of the Amazon’s major rivers known as the Xingu River which is a lifeline for all life around it. Aside from wildlife it is home to more than 25,000 indigenous people from various ethnic groups. It is designed to divert more than 80% of the rivers water flow which would in return devastate an area more than 1,500 square kilometeres of the Brazilian rainforest. This would force displacement of 20,000-40,000 people.On Friday June 16, 2014 more than 300 Brazilian locals dug a channel the first phase of the Belo Monte Dam which blocks the a portion of the Xingu River. The Xingu River flows for 1,700 miles (2,736 km) through the heart of Brazil and is home to thousands of indigenous and riverine communities. When construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam by Norte Energy SA is complete, more than 500 square kilometers (193 square miles) of forest and agricultural land will be flooded and at least 20 thousand people will be displaced.
The massive dam that is being proposed would divert almost all of the Xingu’s water flow. As you can imagine, the negative impact of such a massive unnatural intervention would be tremendous in a number of ways. Environmental Law for the Americas state, “traditional fishing grounds would be irreversibly destroyed; thousands of people would lose access to water, food, labor supply and river transportation; rainforests would be wholly submerged; dead vegetation would rot, releasing massive amounts of greenhouse gases; and thousands of people would lose their homes, livelihoods and culture.”
“In the early morning hours, three hundred women and children arrived in the hamlet of Belo Monte on the Transamazon Highway, and marched onto a temporary earthen dam recently built to impede the flow of the Xingu River. Using pick axes and shovels, local people who are being displaced by the project removed a strip of earthen dam to restore the Xingu’s natural flow,” stated a press release.
“This battle is far from being over,” said Antonia Melo, the coordinator of Xingu Vivo Movement against the dam. “This is our cry: we want this river to stay alive. This dam will not be built. We, the people who live along the banks of the Xingu, who subsist from the river, who drink from the river, and who are already suffering from of the most irresponsible projects in the history of Brazil are demanding: Stop Belo Monte.”
In a world that is shifting from an ego-system to a eco-system this absurd project flies in the face of the wind. Every eco-system that makes up our habitat is in severe decline. This is not a debate or secret anymore. However, money and power are still dominating human decision making. Anything we do today should be based on values that with the sole purpose of enhancing all human life and protecting the environment.
Environmentalists say the Brazilian government’s support of the project is at odds with the green image it projects in international talks and as host of the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. Green groups note that Brazil is planning dozens of dams in the Amazon Basin.
Learn more by checking out the below two link:
1. Belo Monte Fact sheet
2. Amazon Watch’s article – The Belo Monte Dam – Sacrificing the Amazon and it’s Peoples for Dirty Energy