Threats to the Amazon

The Amazon Basin: Negative Impacts of
Mining, Forestry, and the Search for a
New Energy Source
Kelsey Gray
Thomas Meinert
Gold Mining in the Amazon
• Environmentally irresponsible
• Damages riverbeds
• Mercury is released
• Cyanide is also released
• Highly fatal to animals, plants and humans
• Economically successful – at first
• Conditions improved, but drastically changed when wars started
to wage between indigenous people and others due to different
ways of life
Gold Mining in the Amazon
• Indigenous People Suffer
• Kayapo people particularly
• Fighting the building of the Belo Monte Dam
• Unknown how many have been murdered and uprooted from their homes
• Ways of life are destroyed
• River systems, food supply and medicinal tactics are poisoned and
Logging in the Amazon
• Environmentally irresponsible
• Major deforestation, resulting in ruined land and endangered
• Causing droughts, which can cause forest fires and destroy even
more trees
Logging in the Amazon
• Brazil’s version of the EPA. Not nearly enough workers for the
amount of forest it is supposed to over. Impossible to get
anything done
• Corruption in officials
• Government officials that are supposed to protect the land and
issue permits are often corrupted and work for the illegal logging
Brazil’s Plans for Future
• In attempts to keep up with a booming population growth and
also make economic gains Brazil is implementing a new
growth program.
• Brazil’s Accelerated Growth Program includes the building of:
• Hydroelectric Dams
• To provide power for the country’s growing population and
• Roads throughout Rainforest
• In order to transport the natural resources and agricultural goods
throughout the country.
• Power Lines
• In order to carry power from larger cities to more remote regions
and create a new power grid.
Belo Monte Dam
• Xingu Rising (Xingu is the name of the river that the purposed
dam will be on…it is a tributary of the Amazon River)
• Watch this interesting video
• Maybe will put the native culture in perspective
• Brazil is planning on constructing over 30 hydroelectric dams
in the next 10 years. The largest being the Belo Monte.
• Projected cost of $11 billion
• The Belo Monte is attempting to bring jobs to the area as well as
power a large number of the country’s residents.
• Would be the third largest dam in the world.
• The government in Brazil is all for the opening and operation
of the dam, while opponents are in stiff opposition to the
construction (seriously…watch the video)
Pros vs. Cons
• Lots of new jobs
• A new energy source
for Brazil
• Increased energy
• Economic progress for
• Thousands of people
• Increased greenhouse
• Ecosystem greatly
• Stiff opposition by the
greater part of the
Indigenous People of the Amazon
• The numerous indigenous tribes in the Amazon that depend
on the forest for everything ranging from food to medicine,
will be greatly affected by the building of these dams and
probably not in a positive way. Imagine someone coming to
your city, flooding it…and then proceeding to keep flooding it
every year.
• Where will the natives live? Where will they find food when
their habitat will be uprooted. Given that the native
population only accounts for less than 1% of Brazil’s total
population, it still is a shock that the government of Brazil is so
lax on it’s policies and progression towards building of the
Belo Monte.
• Thousands of people will be displaced.
• As the once-isolated Amazon region opens up to more
international trade and economic growth, there’s been an
increase in environmental pressures as well as benefits and
opportunities. It’s vital that planning of new ports, roads and
hydroelectric plants respects the rainforest and the rights of
local people. If the Belo Monte Project is completed it has the
potential to provide thousands of jobs to the country of Brazil
and also power upwards of 27 million homes. With that being
said, thousands of native, indigenous people will lose their
homes, their livelihoods, their way of living, and their deep
spiritual link to the land they call “home.”

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