View blogs by category:

User login


Lula´s a Soybean Kind of Guy

V.P. Alencar, Cabinet Chief Gilberto Carvalho, and Lula at his "Festa Junina" Party (Fábio Rodrigues Pozzebom/ABr)

V.P. Alencar, Cabinet Chief Gilberto Carvalho, and Lula at his "Festa Junina" Party (Fábio Rodrigues Pozzebom/ABr)

Sorry to have taken so long between blogs, but I´ve been out on the road launching our new book "Muddy Waters" on the Madeira River hydroelectric projects.

Catching up on the news, I found this item rather provocative: Gilberto Carvalho, Brazilian President Lula´s Cabinet Chief told Veja Magazine "Lula has the head of a worker from the ABC (industrial zone near São Paulo). His basic concern is with jobs and salaries. I see this every day...I want to make this very clear: He thinks that preserving the environment is important, but if it´s between a little piece of savanna or soybeans, he´s a soybean guy. The environment is important, but not decisive. What´s decisive is the economy".


In ancient Israel, among other places, farmers conserved the fertility of their soils by letting their fields lay fallow every seventh year. Even the Bible mandates that "you may plant your land for six years and gather its crops. But during the seventh year, you must leave it alone and withdraw from it." Thus the concept of the Sabbath year was born.

Talking Environmental Politics

In the third and final part of my interview, I venture into the shifting sands of Brazilian politics - along with football and religion, talking politics is always risky behavior.

The Darkest Stain on Marina Silva's Record

In the second part of my interview, I talk about irregularities in the Madeira River dams licensing process, and why I feel there is still a chance to halt projects planned for the Madeira and Xingu.

A Path Toward the Future, or a Road to Nowhere?

I recently was interviewed by Brazil´s Instituto Humanitas Unisinos, and probably said a lot more than I should have. The first part of my interview, translated into English is about energy alternatives for Brazil.

Brazilian Tribes Say Dam Threatens Way of Life

Julie McCarthy, NPR’s South American correspondent filed this in-depth, detailed and evocative feature about the struggle of the Amazonian Indians to stop the damming of the Xingu River. Her eyewitness report on the Xingu Encounter aired May 31 on Weekend Edition—NPR’s most widely listened to show.

Xingu Encounter in the News

The Real News interviews Glenn Switkes and Amazon Indigenous Indian protesters who say the social and environmental costs of the Belo Monte dam, the world's third largest proposed dam, will destroy their way of life and wreck the Xingu river's ecosystem.

Sonia Legg of Reuters reports on the angry reaction from environmentalists and tribal Indians to Brazilian plans to build a hydro-electric complex on the Xingu River.

Navigating Beijing’s Contradictions

In Beijing on a mission for our China global program, more doors are opening for us than in the past. The emerging picture is still confusing. Understanding the contradictions of China’s overseas investment policies can be as difficult as navigating a Beijing traffic jam.

Final Declaration From the Xingu People

Xingu Encounter participants joined together to create three powerful documents voicing their concerns and demands in regards to the proposed dam projects.

Protest Swim in Defense of the Xingu River

Kayapó women bathe their children in the Xingu River (Glenn Switkes)

Kayapó women bathe their children in the Xingu River (Glenn Switkes)

Read an article about the protest swim in which Brazilian Indians participated to register their objection to the construction of major dams in the Xingu basin (Associated Press).