Protesting at Siemens in defense of the Amazon’s Tapajós River

Greenpeace activists are asking the company not to get involved in the construction of a enormous hydroelectric dam in the heart of the Amazon.

Greenpeace activists protest in front of Siemens Germany headquarters in Munich against Siemens' plans to get involved in the new mega-dam project at the Tapajos River in the Amazon. 15 Jun, 2016 © Bastian Arlt / Greenpeace

Last week, Greenpeace activists gathered at Siemens headquarters in Germany and the Netherlands to protest the company’s likely involvement in the São Luiz do Tapajós hydroelectric dam. If constructed, this massive dam would flood almost 400km² of Amazon rainforest and destroy the livelihoods of the Munduruku Indigenous people who’ve lived there for centuries.

Greenpeace activists are protest in front of Siemens Germany headquarters in Munich. 15 Jun, 2016  © Bastian Arlt / Greenpeace

Greenpeace Germany protesters hold a sign in front of Siemens headquarters that reads “Siemens, we want innovation instead of Amazon destruction” in German.

In Germany, the activists used the trunk of an illegally logged Amazon tree to highlight the deforestation the project would cause if it became a reality. They also marked a red line around the Munich-based headquarters to symbolize the ongoing unofficial demarcation of the Sawré Muybu Indigenous Territory, started last week by the Munduruku Indigenous People with the support of Greenpeace activists. Official recognition of Munduruku lands from the Brazilian government — known as demarcation — is the only way indigenous communities can gain the rights to their ancestral lands.

During the protest, Greenpeace Germany forest campaigner Sandra Hieke had a chance to present the CEO of Siemens, Joe Kaeser, with details of the destruction the São Luiz do Tapajós hydroelectric dam would cause to the Amazon rainforest and the Munduruku Indigenous People. And she gave him a new Greenpeace report that explains the problems hydro-dams cause in the Amazon and a new company briefing on Siemens (in German). This was the first direct conversation between the CEO and members of Greenpeace. Hieke also spoke with him about the human rights violations that occur as part of the construction of many hydroelectric dams in the Brazilian Amazon, like the Belo Monte Dam on the Xingu River. (To find out more, see the UN report published recently).

Amazon protest at Siemens Headquarter in Munich. 15 Jun, 2016, © Bastian Arlt / Greenpeace

Companies like Germany’s Siemens, who provide the technology for hydroelectric dams, must publicly commit to not become involved in the Tapajós project. Instead of contributing to the destruction of the Amazon, Siemens and other companies should help Brazil develop a future with truly clean energy, like solar and wind to meet the country’s energy supply needs.

Greenpeace offices around the world have asked Siemens not to get involved in this devastating project. But the company has yet to distance itself.

Your voice can help make the difference. Join the call to protect the heart of the Amazon and stand in solidarity with the Munduruku people to stop the São Luiz do Tapajós dam.

Jannes Stoppel is a Forest Campaigner at Greenpeace Germany.

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