Mega Dams and Other Infrastructure

Industrial operations require a vast network of infrastructure: roads, ports, waterways, railways, etc. They cut through forests and communities’ territories in order to transport commodities and minerals to industrial centres. Mega dams, although said to provide “clean energy,” flood forests and generate energy primarily for polluting industries and large urban centres.

In dominant models of energy production and consumption, the centralization of the energy matrix and the concentration of decision-making power remain, and with all the marks of inequalities, patriarchy and environmental racism, even if the source of energy has changed.

WRM spoke with close allies from Brazil, Gabon, India, Mexico and Mozambique, to hear from them and learn about their understandings of development.

While it was easy to see the smoke from the forest fires in Brazil, it was much harder to see what was behind the Brazilian government’s smokescreen: actions that will lead the rainforest to a swift death, destroying territories, livelihoods and the diverse cultures.

The growth of mineral extraction and metallurgical production, along with the consequent proliferation of toxic waste tailings dams, has occurred at the same rate as the emptying and bursting of tailings dams in several parts of the world.

It is impossible to think about extraction without thinking about a vast network of accompanying infrastructure, and thus even greater deforestation and destruction.

The construction of the Suzano Pulp and Paper mill—along with nearby highways, the constant transport of wood, and the massive influx of workers—has brought a lot of devastation to communities. This is the testimony of an activist who is fighting for the territory.

The fight against the Belo Monte Hydroelectric Dam is still alive; but peoples of the territory have to deal with the denial of their basic rights, the increase in violence in the city and countryside.