Ethnocide, the new accusation leveled against the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, brings to light deeper underlying aspects of the conflicts and controversies unleashed by megaprojects in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.
Millions of Latin Americans have better access to clean water and decent housing than 25 years ago. But the region still faces serious environmental challenges, such as deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions - a legacy of the model of development followed in the 20th century.
Thousands of people in Spain have organised to protest the introduction of “fracking” – a controversial technique that involves pumping water, chemicals and sand at high pressure into shale rock to release gas and oil.
Family farmers in Chile are pushing for the reinstatement of water as a public good, to at least partially solve the shortages caused by the privatisation of water rights by the military dictatorship in 1981.
In Argentina, where millions of families have unmet dietary needs despite the country’s vast expanse of fertile land, the Huerta Niño project promotes organic gardens in rural primary schools, to teach children healthy eating habits and show them that they can grow their own food to fight hunger.
Costa Rica has almost reached its goal of an energy mix based solely on renewable sources, harnessing solar, wind and geothermal power, as well as the energy of the country’s rivers.
The Atlantic ocean is Brazil’s last frontier to the east. But the full extent of its biodiversity is still unknown, and scientific research and conservation measures are lagging compared to the pace of exploitation of resources such as oil.
Chile lives under the constant threat of spillage from tailings ponds, which became even more marked in late March after heavy rains fell in the desert region of Atacama leaving over two dozen people dead and missing and thousands without a home.
Latin America is making heavy weather of setting targets for greenhouse gas emissions reduction, which all countries must present ahead of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference later this year.
In Brazil water and electricity go together, and two years of scant rainfall have left tens of millions of people on the verge of water and power rationing, boosting arguments for the need to fight deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.
The new interoceanic canal being built in Nicaragua has brought good and bad news for the scientific community: new species and archeological sites have been found and knowledge of the local ecosystems has grown, but the project poses a huge threat to the environment.
A strike that has brought activity to a halt since January on three major banana plantations on Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean coast, along the border with Panama, has highlighted the abuses in a sector in the hands of transnational corporations and has forced the governments of both countries to intervene.
In the wake of the fire that destroyed more than 34,000 hectares of forests, some of them ancient, in Argentina’s southern Patagonia region, the authorities will have to put out flames that are no less serious: the new socio-environmental catastrophe that will emerge from the ashes.
Six million people in Brazil’s biggest city, São Paulo, may at some point find themselves without water. The February rains did not ward off the risk and could even aggravate it by postponing rationing measures which hydrologists have been demanding for the last six months.
Nearly three years after the rights of El Salvador’s indigenous people were recognised in the constitution, there are still no public policies and laws to translate that historic achievement into reality.