Flooding the Amazon for Ineffecient Energy

The jaguar in position in the Xingu river at the site of the Belo Monte dam

With a world full of over 7 billion people, many governments have trended toward desperate fixes to keep up with the increased needs of their people. Unfortunately the worlds ever increasing appetite for energy often comes at the cost of nature. In Brazil, yet another large scale energy project has been launched, the Belo Monte dam. It is planned to be the world’s third largest in installed capacity.  However, it will only produce 39% of its maximum capacity, so the majority of its effect on the environment will not even produce energy.  David de Rothschild, the adventurer behind the well-known Plastiki project, has started a new organization named MYOO to address environmental irresponsibility just like this.

His new project, Articulate, has already traveled to Ecuador for the Toxico expedition, and has now returned to South America for a second round to discover the impact of the proposed dam.

“MYOO’s focus will be on ‘what is lost?’, the team asked this question by visiting and engaging the local communities that reside within the Amazon rainforest, discovering the real impact of the Belo Monte project through the eyes of their children. MYOO will create a library of visually striking content narrating the most precious natural resources from Brazil’s national heritage, hoping to engage and inspire action on an international scale.”

Photo above by Matthew Grey.

Matt Grey papering the jaguar with help from the kids of Ilha Da Fazenda on the Xingu River.Photo by David de Rothschild

With a simple mission to “Give nature a voice,” over three weeks in November the team worked with local children to build a forked totem pole. The totem will depict visually what will be lost through the flooding of the area. The concept for the totem was born from the Juruna tribe legend that “Sinaa will bring about the end of the world when he finally decides to pull down the enormous forked stick that supports the sky.” The Juruna tribe will be forced out of their land if the project goes through, and the forked stick will be taken down signaling the end of the Juruna world.

Matt Grey constructing the totem at the site of the Belo Monte damPhoto by David de Rothschild

While this project may seem to some as nothing more than a group of dreamers creating art in the Amazon, the importance of the mission is undeniable. From obtuse pollution to destruction of natural environments, the world continues to choose progress over sustainability.  Without groups like MYOO, many of these issues would be overlooked.  Unlike many activist groups merely stomping their feet and shaking their fists, David’s organization goes the extra mile.  Beyond raising awareness, MYOO is a meaningful marketing agency, online news portal and adventure group, specializing in sustainability consultancy, material science and product design.  Groups like this are helping to create a different, more inspiring vision of the future, reminding us that our natural environment is one of our most precious resources.

School kids from the Ilha da Fazenda painting the ToucanPhoto by Matthew Grey

Painting the Toucan and painting faces on the Ilha da FazendaPhoto by Matthew Grey

Painting the Toucan soon descended into a paint fightPhoto by Matthew Grey

Pare Belo Monte - STOP Belo  Monte - Ilha da FazendaPhoto by Matthew Grey

Loading the sculptures for tranport up to the Belo Monte dam sitePhoto by Matthew Grey

164992_1David de Rothschild, photographed by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin

David de Rothschild working on the frame for the Toucan sculpturePhoto by Matthew Grey

Matt Grey carving the totem on the Ilha da FazendaPhoto by David de Rothschild

From the series - "What is Lost" - Ilha da FazendaPhoto by Matthew Grey

Pare Belo Monte - STOP Belo  Monte - Ilha da FazendaPhoto by Matthew Grey

David de Rothschild painting hands - Pare Belo MontePhoto by Matthew Grey

Painting the jaguar sculpture - Ilha da FazendaPhoto by Matthew Grey

Totem poles with fireworks going off behind them - at the site of the Belo Monte dam.Photo by Matthew Grey

The Toucan sculpture in position in the river Xingu at the site of the Belo Monte damPhoto by Matthew Grey

David de Rothschild stands next to the totem poles erected at the site of the Belo Monte dam.Photo by Matthew Grey

Matthew Grey with the Leica M9Self-portrait by Matthew Grey

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