Braziliian dam damaging to livelihood

Cathryn Frear, Correspondant

One of the smallest minorities in both North and South America is the ever-diminishing indigenous population.  When the Europeans came over, they eventually came to an agreement with the natives stating they would take most of their land, but give them a small place where they would be undisturbed.

This is becoming less and less true as time goes on and the western world’s inexplicable need to modernize and change takes over its need to stay true to a promise made.

In the name of profit and perceived progress, the western world is also willing to voraciously consume their natural resources. More specifically and in current events, Brazil has been in the news in recent months for the highly controversial governmental approval of the destruction of thousands of acres of rainforest. This development will displace between 20,000 and 40,000 Kayapó, the natives to this region.

Okay, so they didn’t directly say “DESTROY!  DISPLACE!” but what they did do is pass approval for dam which will cause a lot of flooding in the surrounding area.  Blasting through this land will not only destroy a large amount of rainforest, it will also release copious amounts of methane into the atmosphere.

For those who don’t know, methane is a pretty harsh greenhouse gas.  Greenhouse gasses are playing a huge role in the destruction of the ozone layer.  So, not only will this new dam devastate thousands of acres of already endangered rainforest, the construction of this dam will actually be detrimental to the environment; which is contrary to what the government originally intended.

The government tried to do this once before in the 1980’s, but was stopped back then by the World Bank, who refused their loan application.  This time, the government was delayed by a petition of 600,000 signatures presented by the leader of the Kayapó, Chief Raoni Txucarramãe.  They eventually decided to go ahead with the project anyway.  There is currently another petition being prepared to present to the government, but it is not required to heed the wishes of the petitioners.

As far as the natives in Brazil, their constitution protects them from being forcibly displaced unless the government deems it in the best interest of the country.  So the message being sent seems to be electricity is more important than the irreplaceable homeland of the native inhabitants and the destruction of an environment which has become already almost nonexistent.

As we all have been made painfully aware, the environment isn’t in great shape as it stands.  In fact, the environment is on its way to complete ruin if we don’t start doing something about it.  How this is in the best interest of the country is beyond me.  Sure, the hydroelectric dam will provide electricity, but at what cost?

So please, take one minute of your time to tell the Brazillian government their total disregard for the livelihood of their nation’s rarities is unacceptable and sign the petition by visiting

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.” –Dr. Seuss.