By Claudia Leisinger | April 17, 2015
Posted in: Story Multimedia Commission BMW Foundation Earth Security Group 2015 newsletter news update on work March 2015 Brazil Of Flying Rivers & Flooded Lands
March 2015 was an unbelievably exciting time I went to Brazil, to the Amazon to shoot my latest project.
"Of Flying Rivers & Flooded Lands: Damming the Amazon"
I visited Munduruku Indians living alongside the mighty Tapajós River in the Amazonian forest, who are actively fighting a massive hydro-electricity dam planned by the Brazilian government. Once built, the São Luiz do Tapajós dam will flood vast areas of their land, putting existing villages under water, disrupting the river flow and with it the intricate balance of ecosystems.
It is not only the Munduruku’s traditional way of life that is threatened, but also river dweller communities like Pimental. This picturesque village with its four churches, eight small stores, a well functioning school and roughly 300 inhabitants, would be completely flooded by the São Luiz do Tapajós dam.
But the impact of the dam will be felt long before it is actually completed. A construction project of this scale in an area with no existing infrastructure, as is the case here, will result in irreversible damage to the natural environment. Forest will make way for roads, housing for workers, shops, restaurants, brothels and more.
At the Belo Monte dam on the neighbouring Xingu river, 20,000 labourers have migrated into the area to work around the clock. The Munduruku have supported the Xingu indigenous communities in their fight against the Belo Monte dam and witnessed the disastrous consequences first hand. They are now fighting not to suffer the same fate.
In the next months I will create a multimedia project using the stills, video and audio I shot and collected during my stay in Alter do Chao, Santarem, Itaituba, Praia do Mangue, Pimental and Sawre Muybu.
I was also thrilled to shoot photos and video for BMW Foundation at their 3rd Global Table on Resources and Security in Brazil.
Boto dolphins at Santarem harbour.
Girl in traditional Munduruku head dress in Sawre Muybu.
Between digging up potatoes for dinner, in Sawre Muybu.
Jumping into the Tapajos river in Pimental.
Aline Karo Munduruku in Praia do Mangue.
1000 newly built council houses near Santarem ready for the communities displaced by mega construction projects like the São Luiz do Tapajós dam.