A man performing capoeira

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Capoeira at the People's Summit
Brazilians perform capoeira for a crowd on June 18 at the People's Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — a counter summit to the United Nations Sustainable Development conference, also known as Rio+20.
As more than 110 world leaders fly into the city for Rio+20, tens of thousands of people belonging to indigenous tribes, environmentalist groups, unions and religious organizations are also arriving to participate in the People's Summit. Funded by the Brazilian government to foster alternative ideas and solutions to global environmental problems, the People's Summit also provides a forum for dissent, a place to protest environmental policy decisions made by U.N. member countries.

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Indigenous men playing soccer

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

A quick game of soccer

Indigenous men wearing feathers and face paint play soccer at the summit on June 18.

The U.N. sustainable development conference plans to mark the 20th anniversary of the landmark Rio Earth Summit in 1992, which paved the way for the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. Despite the Kyoto Protocol and several other attempts to enact global environmental resolutions, world leaders are stilling struggling to break a deadlock between maintaining a shaky global economy and conserving the environment.

On June 20, the day the U.N. member countries' representatives fly into Rio de Janeiro, more than 50,000 protesters are expected to rally to bring attention to the decline of the global environment and the many failed attempts by international leaders to create a global solution.

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A proester standing in front of several political placards

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The Belo Monte Dam controversy

A protester demonstrates against the controversial Belo Monte Dam project on June 18 at the summit.

Once completed, the Belo Monte Dam will be the third-largest hydroelectric dam in the world. Land surrounding the Xingu River in the state of Para will be inundated with water, washing out the homes of indigenous people and other residents.

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Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.

Photos: In Rio, a different kind of environmental summit takes shape
As world leaders fly into Rio de Janeiro for Rio+20, thousands of people from indigenous tribes, environmental groups, unions and religious organizations gather