The Great Amazonian Barrage

A new age of hydroelectric dams has risen in the Amazon: a mere license prevents Belo Monte, its greatest dam, from operating. Those who live in its shadow are still longing for justice. Is a nation’s energetic prosperity worth the toll? It is up to you to decide in this interactive journey in the Xingu River Basin.

Hydroelectric power is the new frontier for many emerging economies. Dams offer clean renewable energy, but their negative consequences cannot be ignored. The mega dam building policy, while being a significant part of the effort to reduce carbon emissions, is in fact deeply affecting the natural and social ecosystem in which they are built.

A Dammed Amazon

Amongst all the developing economies, Brazil has been heavily investing in constructing hydroelectric plants in the Amazon, to sustain its emerging economy. The Amazon Rainforest represents over half of the planet's remaining rainforests. Yet, its enormous biodiversity is being constantly stricken by the exploitation of natural resources for energy production. Plants, animals and local indigenous residents are the ones paying the price.

Belo Monte, the most controversial Amazonian dam to date, has become the symbol of popular opposition movements highlighting the impacts of these projects and challenging their asserted sustainability. Situated on the Xingu River, the dam has been inaugurated in 2016. Norte Energia, the company running the facility, is undergoing a trial that could mine the operativity of the plant.

Time for the inspection

Belo Monte is still not working at full potential, and its fate is decided by the granting of an Operational License. With this map you will be able to inspect how Norte Energia tried to solve the problems caused by the dam, comparing the company's statements with other sources. After the inspection, you will be asked to decide wether to grant or to deny the license.

The elements on the map represent the issues created by the dam. Click on them to proceed with the inspection.

Compare the official statements by Norte Energia with the other sources.

Proceed to decision

When you made up your mind, click on this button to take a decision.

Xingu River Valley