Brazilian Court Suspends Work on Mega-Dam Set To Destroy Rainforest, Indigenous Peoples

Something to celebrate! For decades, the Brazilian government has had plans to build the third-largest hydroelectric dam in the world in Amazonia. This mega-project would drown large areas of pristine rainforest and displace the resident indigenous peoples from their homelands. After protests by the affected tribes supported by a worldwide campaign appealing to the parliament and the new President, Dilma Rousseff, seemed to have no effect, now a Brazilian federal judge has suspended the dam’s construction. It’s a victory to rejoice over, but a not definite decision and no reason to let up the pressure to stop this monster project based on 20th century thinking.

“The world must know what is happening here, they must perceive how destroying forests and indigenous people destroys the entire world.”



Belo Monte Dam Suspended by Brazilian Appeals Court



Environmentalist Murdered: “Because I Stand Up, For This They Think I Can’t Exist”

José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and his wife, Maria do Espírito Santo,were shot and killed last week in an ambush near their home in the Brazilian rainforest. Da Silva was a leader in defending the rainforest from illegal loggers, and knew that his life was under threat. Since their assassinations, yet another Brazilian environmentalist has been brutally murdered: Adelino Ramos, a land reform leader in the Amazon state of Rondonia, which borders Bolivia, was shot down. Like the Silvas, he also denounced those who illegally cut the rain forest.

The recent deaths add 3 more names to the list of over 1,150 rural conservationists who have been slain in land conflicts across Brazil in the past 20 years. The murders are carried out by gunmen hired by loggers, ranchers and farmers to silence those who protest illegal cutting of the forest, although few of the perpetrators are prosecuted.

Here is Mr. da Silva speaking at a TED Amazonia conference last November. His words are an indictment against his murderers, and shine as an inspiration to those of us still able to take a stand for the Eaarth:

“I can be here today talking with you, and a month from now you know what could happen to me – disappeared. Ask me if I am scared. I am afraid. I am a human being. I have fear. But my fear won’t let me be quiet. As long as I have the power to walk I will be denouncing those who are harming the forest.”


It is up to those of us still here to work for change, so that José , Maria, and Adelino’s deaths are not in vain. We won’t all make a difference in the same way, but each of us can do something. For practical steps to take in your every day life, go to my Action Not Apathy page.

To support groups working for conservation in the Amazon Rainforest and other important ecosystems, check out:

Pachamama Alliance

Indigenous Environmental Network

Or for more informative links, click here

Media links:

Amazon Rainforest Activist Shot Dead

Adelino Ramos Killed: Third Environmental Activist Murdered This Week in Brazil