Sign the Amazon petition!

For some time a new project is on its way to build a large dam in the Xingu river in Brazil, and to create a huge lake which will destroy another piece of Amazonian forest.

The recent election of a new president has apparently fueled the debate and has led to an action for support of a petition to the government to halt this unwise project.

The background is below and contains the link to the webpage where you can fill in your name and email address, thereby signing the petition. You will end up on a page where you can see the live stream of those who adhere the petition. Sign it and forward this to those who might support it too!

Dear friends,

Belomonte_email

Brazil’s top environmental regulator resigned last Wednesday under pressure to allow thehugely destructive Belo Monte Dam Complex, which would scar the Amazon and displace thousands of people. Protect the Amazon, its people, and its species — sign the petition to President Dilma opposing the dam and calling for energy efficiency instead:

Last Wednesday, Brazil’s top environmental regulator resigned due to pressure to license a project that experts say would be an environmental disaster: the Belo Monte Dam Complex

The Belo Monte mega-dam would carve a scar bigger than the Panama Canal into the heart of the Amazon, flooding huge tracts of rainforest and displacing thousands of indigenous people. The companies who would profit from the dam have been trying to bulldoze past environmental laws that would block it — and want to break ground within weeks. 

This week’s resignation could clear the way for a Belo Monte license–or, if enough of us raise an immediate outcry, it could mark a turning point. Let’s make this moment a defining choice for President Dilma’s new presidency: it’s time to put people and planet first. Sign the emergency petition to Dilma to stop Belo Monte —it will be delivered in Brasilia, let’s get 300,000 signatures: 

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/pare_belo_monte/?vl 

Abelardo Bayma Azevedo, who stepped down last Wednesday as President of IBAMA, is not the first resignation caused by pressure to allow Belo Monte. His predecessor, Roberto Messias, stepped down for the same reason last year. And Marina Silva left her job as Environmental Minister because of Belo Monte. 

Eletronorte, the company who will profit most from Belo Monte, is demanding that IBAMA issue the license to start construction be issued even if the project does not meet environmental standards. But in a democracy, financial interests can’t steamroll legal environmental protections — at least, not without a fight. 

Belo Monte would flood at least 400,000 acres of rainforest, affect hundreds of kilometres of the Xingu river, and displace over 40,000 people, including indigenous communities of 18 different ethnic groups who depend on the Xingu for their subsistence. It is so economically risky that the government has had to turn to public funds for most of the $16 billion investment. And the dam would be one of Brazil’s least efficient, operating at only 10% capacity for the dry months from July to October. 

The dam’s backers argue that it will supply Brazil’s growing energy needs. But a far greater, greener, and cheaper supply of energy is available: energy efficiency. A WWF study found that efficiency alone could save the equivalent of 14 Belo Monte dams by 2020. The benefits of a truly green approach would go to everyone, rather than a handful of powerful corporations. But it’s only the corporations who hire lobbyists and wield political muscle — unless enough of us, in the general public, raise our voices. 

Belo Monte’s construction could start as early as February. Brazil’s Minister of Energy and Mining, Edson Lob??o, says the next license will be approved soon — we need to stop Belo Monte before the bulldozers move in. Let???s welcome Dilma into the presidency with a massive outcry to do the right thing: stop Belo Monte! 

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/pare_belo_monte/?vl

Brazil might be the world’s best hope for progress against climate change, and for bringing North and South countries together on the most hopeful common ground. Now, that hope resides in President Dilma. By calling together for her to reject the Belo Monte dam and pursue a better path, we invite her to live up to that opportunity — and to help build a future that all of us, from the tribes along the Xingu to the grandchildren of today’s city dwellers, can be proud of. 

With hope, 

Ben, Graziela, Alice, Ricken, Rewan, and the whole Avaaz.org team 

SOURCES: 

IBAMA President Resigns Over Belo Monte Licensing:
http://www.internationalrivers.org/en/blog/zachary-hurwitz/2011-1-13/ibama-president-resigns-over-belo-monte-licensing 

PowerSwitch report by WWF-Brazil examining opportunities for energy efficiency:
http://www.internationalrivers.org/files/brazil_pswstudy_english_summary_0.pdf 

Amazon
Watch fact sheet: 
http://www.amazonwatch.org/amazon/BR/bmd/index.php?page_number=99 

Power and the Xingu: 
http://www.economist.com/node/15954573 

Brazil to build controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric dam in Amazon rainforest:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/02/brazil-amazon-rainforest-hydroelectric-dam 

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