Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hundreds of Indigenous Activists and Allies Form "Human Banner" at Rio+20

Nearly 1500 people used Rio's Flamengo Beach (part of the People's Summit) as a canvas yesterday, their bodies forming the lines of an enormous image promoting the importance of free-running rivers, truly clean energy sources like solar power and including indigenous knowledge as part of the solution to climate issues. The activity was led by Brazil's many indigenous peoples organized under the umbrella of the Articulation of Brazilian Indigenous Peoples (APIB) and comprising the majority of the "human banner" participants.
Legendary KayapĆ³ leader Chief Raoni participated in the event, bringing a colorful group of KayapĆ³ warriors. "We need a movement to call attention to the Brazilian government and the world to stop these dams. How can the people live without the flowing rivers and their fish and forests?" Referencing the impending construction of the Belo Monte dam he wrote, "I'm concerned about all the people suffering as they lose their lands and homes."

"We want to tell the world that the rivers, people and the planet need to be saved. The message of the banner is that we can live more sustainably, respecting the Earth's people and without destroying its natural resources," said indigenous leader Sheyla Juruna. Her community will likely be destroyed as the Big Bend section of the Xingu River dries up to divert the waters for the Belo Monte dam.

The indigenous leaders were joined by a number of steadfast international supporters and allies.

Photo courtesy of Alberto Perdomo via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)