Two Munduruku Indigenous People, 15 mischievious 'monkeys' and a few Greenpeace activists - this morning we’re bringing the Amazon to Siemens’ grey campus in Surrey. The Munduruku have travelled thousands of miles to demand a meeting with Siemens bosses about Amazon dams, after months of ambivalence to warnings from across the world.
"Haven’t you already saved the Amazon?" someone said to me recently - if only. As well as countless other threats to the Amazon, like palm oil fires and soy farming, 43 damaging dams are currently planned for the Tapajos region of the Amazon.
The dams don’t just threaten the way of life of Indigenous People - who’ve lived in the area for centuries - they also threaten unparalleled biodiversity and the Amazon environment. Despite hydropower (rightly) having a renewable reputation, the conditions in this area means a dam could turn the Amazon into a giant methane factory as flooded vegetation roots beneath the waters.
Last week, the first of the five dams set to be built soonest had its environmental license cancelled. The Brazilian government are clearly starting to feel the pressure after months of protests and public outcry, not to mention years of struggle by Indigenous People. But we’re hoping companies who could provide the essential parts for all 43 dams can scupper plans completely. No parts. No dams.
That’s why Arnaldo Kaba Munduruku, the general chief of the Munduruku, and one of his advisors, Ademir Kaba Munduruku, have travelled over 5,000 miles to meet bosses of Siemens. They’re a supposedly green company who produce a huge amount of the world’s wind and solar technology. Yet they provided parts for the Amazon-destroying Belo Monte dam - and as one of just a few companies who can produce the relevant turbines, they could be in line to profit from the next set of dams too.
Siemens have continously refused to rule out getting involved in these awful dams - in spite of countless emails, tweets, messages and protests in 19 countries. But determined as ever, over 3,700 Greenpeace supporters publicly called out Siemens. They chipped in for a whopping advert on page three of the Financial Times inviting Siemen's UK Chief Executive to meet the Munduruku.
So here I am, as you read this, outside Siemen’s Surrey HQ alongside some badass warriors from the Amazon. If Siemens meet with us today, they'll know that thousands of British people are waiting for Amazon answers.
As British people continue to watch Brazil’s Olympic Games, let's hope people and companies in the UK will just as eagerly watch over Brazil’s beautiful Amazon too.
With 130,000 UK signatures alone and thousands of funders for that ad, it's clear ordinary people are doing their bit... so, your move Siemens!
Click here to join the campaign to protect the heart of the Amazon.