Brazil Suspends Amazon Dam Project

WORLD

Plans to build a huge hydroelectric dam in the Amazon have been put on hold due to concerns about its impact on the indigenous community in the region. (Guardian)

Use our fantastic hi-res map to find the proposed site of the São Luiz do Tapajós dam and an array of other human activities in the Amazon Basin.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit, including a link to today’s very simple locator map.

amazonia-human Zoom, zoom, zoom in on this beautiful map. Hydroelectric power plants are not the only human activity threatening indigenous cultures and biodiversity in the Amazon. Mining, logging, ranching, agriculture, and oil and gas extraction have also put unsustainable pressure on the delicate rain forests. Map by National Geographic

Zoom, zoom, zoom in on this beautiful map. Hydroelectric power plants are not the only human activity threatening indigenous cultures and biodiversity in the Amazon. Mining, logging, ranching, agriculture, and oil and gas extraction have also put unsustainable pressure on its delicate rain forests.
Map by National Geographic

Members of the Munduruku community, seen here in 2013, have protested the São Luiz do Tapajós dam project since its inception. The project was suspended this week. Photograph by Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência Brasil, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-3.0

Members of the Munduruku community, seen here in 2013, have protested the São Luiz do Tapajós dam project since its inception. The project was suspended this week.
Photograph by Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência Brasil, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-3.0

Discussion Ideas

Use today’s Mapmaker Interactive map to identify the Tapajos River and human activity surrounding it.

Use today’s Mapmaker Interactive map to identify the Tapajos River and human activity surrounding it.

 

 

  • Why do the Munduruku oppose the Tapajos dam project?
    • The Munduruku oppose the Tapajos dam for two major reasons: its impact on the human community and its impact on the region’s environment.

 

  • What methods have the Munduruku used to oppose the Tapajos dam project?
    • law. For years, the Munduruku have sought the crucial “demarcation” designation for land around the proposed project. Once an area has been officially demarcated as indigenous land, government and businesses are strictly prohibited from forcing the removal of indigenous groups from it except in cases of disease epidemics and war.
    • civil disobedience. Mundurukus have taken to unofficially demarcating their land by hammering “handmade wooden signs with words in their native language stenciled in red paint onto tree trunks.”
    • kidnapping.In 2013, the tribe captured three biologists who were in the region doing a study [associated with the development of the dam.] They were held for 48 hours until the government promised to suspend the study. ‘[The Munduruku] kept them in a cage and threatened to burn them alive unless the government explained what they were doing on indigenous land without consent’ . . . Now federal forces accompany any such mission to the region.”
    • dedication. Unlike many other indigenous groups, the Munduruku are united in their opposition to the dam. “We Munduruku will stop this dam,” says one spokesman. “Now we are fighting with documents. If the government insists, if it sends in the National Force, then we will fight with bodies. Everyone has made the decision, no one will give up.”

 

  • Why has the Tapajos dam project been suspended? Read through the Guardian article for some help.
    • The project has been suspended for several reasons, both legal and economic.
      • First, about 170,000 hectares have been protected as Munduruku land. This prohibits the project from removing any Munduruku from the area.
      • Second, the Brazilian economic slump has made it less profitable for companies to invest in such a huge, costly hydroelectric project. “These dams were planned when the government expected a rise in energy demand based on growth of 4% a year,” says one expert. “But in 2015 GDP shrank by 3.8% and the projections for 2016 indicate a similar drop.”

 

TEACHERS’ TOOLKIT

Guardian: Brazil Amazon dam project suspended over concerns for indigenous people

Nat Geo: Amazonia: The Human Impact high-resolution map

Nat Geo: Where is the Sao Luiz Tapajos dam project? locator map

Dams in Amazonia: São Luiz do Tapajós Dam Profile

Al Jazeera America: ‘We Will Fight to the End: Amazon Tribe Faces Off Against a $9.9 Billion Dam

3 responses to “Brazil Suspends Amazon Dam Project

  1. it’s good because they have to respect the indigenous community.. why they don’t built something in the downtown of brazil…??

  2. I think it was a great information for all the people so we can know more about the living of other people around the world and their construction.

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