The UN Rio Earth Summit (called Rio+20 as it is the 20th anniversary of the original Earth Summit held in Brazil) is just about to kick off, with literally thousands of events exploring every facet of sustainable development — from agriculture and energy access, to water sanitation and food security. Towards the end of the week, more than 100 hundred world leaders will arrive on the scene and (hopefully) agree on a way to protect our planet's vital resources while providing for the 9 billion people that will live on Earth by 2050.
But just as this summit is gearing up, hundreds of miles away in the remote Xingu province of Brazil in the middle of the Amazon rain forest, a line has quite literally been drawn in the sand. For months now, indigenous people living near the banks of the Xingu River have been displaced by one of the world's largest dam projects called Belo Monte. Despite massive public protest (more than 90 percent of Brazilians believe the dam should not be built) the Brazilian government has decided to fast-track the project, threatening one of the most biodiverse regions of the Amazon and an entire way of life for the 25,000 Xingu people who call this region home.
In some cases entire villages have been demolished in one afternoon, and these residents have decided to fight back in every way they can. The action this weekend, led by the organization Amazon Watch, was the next move in activists' long-standing battle with the Brazilian government over this project.
The crosses you see at the beginning of the video represent the people who have perished as a result of the project, and at the end you can see people planting native acai trees, another act of defiance as these trees are protected by federal environmental laws.
You can learn more about what happened on the TckTckTck website. I'm here in Brazil covering the summit for the week, and tomorrow I'll be posting on some of the energy alternatives in Brazil that would create more jobs and increase Brazil's energy security without having to build this expensive and controversial hydropower dam.