I’m now back in California after the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development that played out in Rio de Janeiro last week. With weak participation from key governments – and strong “title sponsor” influence from mammoth energy and mining corporations including Vale and Eletrobras – it’s not so surprising that the final document from the official proceedings has widely been called a failure for people and the planet.
As Brazil brazenly advances their campaign to dam nearly every tributary of the Amazon – inside and outside their borders – we at International Rivers had a more focused agenda in Rio: rally attention against the Belo Monte monster dam, and present a 21st century energy platform for Brazil that protects the Amazon. In reflecting upon the outcomes from the organizing and actions that we advanced in Rio toward those goals, I count our work in Rio as a success.
We supported indigenous and domestic groups for the Stop Belo Monte actions on the Xingu River. We helped take and share the images and video that went viral throughout Brazil just before the start of Rio+20. We launched a ground-breaking alternative energy strategy report for Brazil, presenting it at a symposium packed with Brazilian civil society groups, academics and high-level government ministers. And we ensured that rivers, indigenous rights, and the threats of dams in the Amazon were the buzz throughout the sprawling People’s Summit.
And by we, I’m referring to our Amazon Program staff, to key international allies such as Amazon Watch and Movimento Xingu Vivo, to the scores of indigenous leaders and Brazilian NGOs that our Amazon Program Director Brent Millikan introduced me to, and to the members and donors of International Rivers who make this work possible.
Our team here at International Rivers is lean, and we can’t keep up the fight for healthy rivers without the support of individual activists and donors. If you believe it’s important for an organization with our deep expertise and global strategic vision to be engaged in the fight for the future of the Earth’s rivers, I hope you’ll consider making a special donation today.