News Worth Celebrating: Megadam in the Heart of the Amazon Canceled!

by Danicley de Aguiar

August 4, 2016

Thanks to all of you — more than 1.2 million people — who stood with the Munduruku Indigenous people and made this victory possible!

© Rogério Assis / Greenpeace

This Wednesday, I had barely had breakfast when I was surprised by some absolutely amazing news: the Brazilian environmental agency — IBAMA announced it would cancel the process for licensing the São Luiz do Tapajós (SLT) megadam in the heart of the Amazon. Once my heart rate returned to normal, I started to call my colleagues and Munduruku leaders, seeking confirmation.

Today, it’s official: The Brazilian environmental agency has cancelled the São Luiz do Tapajós megadam. It’s time to celebrate this incredible news!

I would like to thank all of you — more than 1.2 million people around the world — who stood with the Munduruku Indigenous People to say no to the SLT dam and pressure multinational companies like Siemens to distance themselves from the project.

You made this victory possible.

Munduruku children playing in the rain in Sawré Muybu village. Sawré Muybu village serves as headquarters for the action on March 18th, 2016. A 20x30 meters banner is to be opened near the Tapajós river, protesting against the construction of dams in the region. Warriors from other villages and Greenpeace activists gather in the village. A aldeia Sawré Muybu recebe os preparativos para a ação do dia 18/03/2016, em que um banner de 20x30 metros deve ser aberto próximo ao Rio Tapajós, em protesto à construção de hidrelétricas na região. Guerreiros de outras aldeias e ativistas do Greenpeace chegam à aldeia. 15/03/2016. Foto: Rogério Assis/Greenpeace.

Munduruku children playing in the rain in Sawré Muybu village.

Over these last months we truly believed that sooner or later IBAMA would need to recognize the megadam project’s significant environmental and social impacts in the region. Now, with IBAMA’s decision, the approval process for the megadam cannot move forward.

Other Brazilian agencies like FUNAI (National Indigenous Foundation) and federal public prosecutors in the Brazilian state of Pará had recommended that IBAMA cancel the license because the project would displace Munduruku communities, making it unconstitutional. Part of the Munduruku Indigenous land called Sawré Muybu – an area in the process of been officially recognized as Indigenous Land – would have been flooded by the dam.

Now that the megadam’s license has been cancelled, the Brazilian Ministry of Justice must recognize its obligation and move swiftly to officially demarcate the Sawré Muybu territory.

Although, we are celebrating this incredible victory, we know there is a lot more to do to keep the Tapajós and other Amazon rivers free from hydrodams. Our campaign has not finished yet!

There are 42 other hydrodam projects planned in the Tapajós basin and hundreds earmarked across the Amazon rainforest – part of an aggressive economic model that doesn’t consider the critical importance of protecting the Amazon forest and its inhabitants. Previous dams build in the Amazon have negatively impacted local communities, devastated the environment and even been mired in corruption scandals.

We need to stop them, one by one!

The Brazilian government plans to build a series of dams in the Tapajós River basin, which would severely threaten the fauna, flora and life of the Indigenous people living along the river. O governo brasileiro pretende construir uma série de barragens na bacia do rio Tapajós, que ameaçam gravemente a fauna, a flora e a vida dos povos indígenas que vivem ao longo do rio.

There is another way.

Brazil must focus on truly renewable energy and become a world leader in wind and solar.

With the right investments, it is possible to generate the same amount of energy that dams like São Luiz do Tapájós would produce, by harnessing the power of wind and sun.

Danicley de Aguiar

By Danicley de Aguiar

Danicley de Aguiar is an Amazon forest campaigner for Greenpeace Brazil.

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