Over the last two months, Brazilians have witnessed an alarming assault on the Amazon and the people who live there.
This is one of the defining environmental struggles of our times; the assault on the Amazon must stop! We, the international community, need to stand in solidarity with the growing numbers of Brazilians calling for environmental sanity and respect for human rights in the Amazon. Together, we can make a difference.
You can help protect the Amazon!
Brazilians are increasingly organizing protests throughout the country. Saturday August 20 will be massive day of action in at least 22 Brazilian cities. Antonia Melo, a key leader of the movement to stop the Belo Monte Dam, has asked people to organize protests around the world on Monday August 22 in front of their local Brazilian Embassy or Consulate.
The Movement to Defend the Brazilian Amazon is a coalition of various sectors of society, including Brazilian and international NGOs, social movements, human rights activists, environmentalists, students, and many other supporters.
The Belo Monte Dam project is already wreaking havoc in the region, causing large-scale displacement of urban and rural populations, while placing overwhelming strain on social services and
sparking a rapid rise in criminality. Work camps are being built, forests are being decimated, and the Xingu River is under imminent threat. The construction of the Belo Monte Dam is an
announcement of disaster, but it could be just the beginning. Belo Monte is the first of a major onslaught of planned dams in the Amazon, which will have devastating impacts for the
environment, indigenous peoples and other local communities.
The proposed slashing of the Forest Code's ecological protections represents a clash between profit-driven economic interests and those favoring socially and environmentally sustainable development. Opponents of the Code clearly have the upper hand: deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon have surged in recent months, in anticipation of the relaxed regulations and amnesty for past illegal logging.
The Belo Monte Dam and the new Forest Code debates coincide with an outrageous rise in murders of the nonviolent activists who have stood in the way of logging and other destructive activities. Threats to indigenous leaders and activists have also risen as the situation in the Amazon becomes increasingly chaotic.
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