Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon

by Asociacion Interamericana Para La Defensa Del Ambiente (AIDA)
Play Video
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Empower Indigenous Brazilians to Save their Amazon
Aug 17, 2016

Brazil and the Olympics: Signs of Danger, Signs of Hope

Rio de Janeiro coastline, site of the Olympics
Rio de Janeiro coastline, site of the Olympics

As the Brazilian flag was raised at the Rio Olympics to the soft sounds of acoustic guitar, the familiar words of my country’s national anthem struck me:

Giant by thine own nature,
Thou art beautiful, thou art strong, an intrepid colossus,
And thy future mirrors that greatness.

For centuries, it’s been easy, a point of pride, to celebrate the natural bounty of our landscape, from the mighty Amazon basin to the thousands of miles of pristine coastline.

What’s proved most difficult is defending it.

Last year Brazil was the world’s most dangerous country for environmental defenders. At least 50 of us were killed; so far this year, 23 have been assassinated. The Amazon, where I was born and spent my childhood, is the epicenter of these crimes.

Plantations, ranches and large dams have been built on land where homes once stood. Indigenous and Afro-Brazilian communities, guardians of the natural world, have been evicted from lands passed down through the generations.

It’s clear that economics and development have been prioritized above public health and wellbeing.

Increasingly, dams have also become agents of dispossession in the Amazon. On the mighty Rio Xingu, Belo Monte has displaced indigenous communities that depended on and cared for the river basin. Vast amounts of rainforest have been destroyed, with disastrous impacts on wildlife. Several plant and animal species are now extinct; literally tons of fish have died, likely from contamination. Altamira, the city closest to the dam, is now ranked third in Brazil for violence and inequality. Belo Monte is hardly bringing equitable and just development to Brazil.

There are reasons for hope, though. A couple of things that happened last week made me believe we might see some positive changes in the near future.

First, the government denied the environmental license for a Tapajós River mega-dam that would have repeated the destruction of Belo Monte, devastating the lands and culture of the Muduruku people.

The second is more symbolic – the opening ceremony of the Olympic games. I was particularly moved by the focus on two issues that Brazil must make a priority in coming years: deforestation and climate change.

The attention to environmental crisis was powerful. It would have been even stronger, though, if indigenous people hadn’t been portrayed only as relics of Brazil’s ancient origins. In reality, our indigenous groups are crucial players in present and future efforts to achieve sustainability.

To a certain extent, hope is what the Olympics are all about. They bring the world together for a common good, and, at their best, aid in the development of a peaceful society concerned with preserving human dignity across all continents.

Although I have deep personal disagreements with the execution of the Olympics in Rio, I hope Brazil takes seriously the symbolic commitment demonstrated in the opening ceremony.

I hope Belo Monte is the last case of its kind.

I hope human rights and environmental defenders can work safely and without fear.

I hope future generations grow up in a country that is really a “giant by thine own nature.

Only then will our future truly be as great as the magnificent lands we call home.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Comments:

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Asociacion Interamericana Para La Defensa Del Ambiente (AIDA)

Location: San Francisco, CA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AIDAorg
Project Leader:
Astrid Puentes
Lima, Brazil
$17,739 raised of $20,000 goal
 
386 donations
$2,261 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Asociacion Interamericana Para La Defensa Del Ambiente (AIDA) has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.