Thursday, April 15, 2010


A Brazilian judge has halted public bidding on contracts to build the Belo Monte dam. This is a big victory in that it shows what a coalition of indigenous peoples, environmentalists and celebrities like James Cameron can achieve. And it's small because it's only a delay and everyone will have to return for the next rounds, again and again.

The standard problem is that while the enviros, Indians and their allies must return to the same battle or defend endlessly the victories of preservation, when the mega-developers or deforesters get their way it's permanent.

We can only expect the pressure to worsen in the next decades as both economic development and population produce accelerated impacts. This is why it is terribly important to discover a new and sustainable approach for the 21st Century. This quest is the big struggle and we have already entered the battlefield.

[UPDATE April 16, 2010: BRAZIL -- A judge on Friday overturned a decision that could have delayed construction of a huge Amazon dam opposed by environmentalists, Indians and the director of Avatar. The judge reversed a decision to suspend contract bidding scheduled for next week and also overturned the suspension of the environmental license for the 11,000-megawatt Belo Monte dam. Federal prosecutors said an appeal would be filed. James Cameron, director of the blockbuster movie, asserted that government pressure played a role in the quick court reversal. -- The Associated Press]

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