Pink River Dolphin Alert: We Want to Swim in Water, Not Oil!

 Pink River Dolphin Alert: We Want to Swim in Water, Not Oil!

Engajamundo and Greenpeace Brazil carry out an artistic intervention at COP 28 denouncing the impacts of oil extraction at the mouth of the Amazon.

By Heitor Scaff*

Translated by Daniele Savietto

This Sunday, December 3rd, in Dubai, the stage for the Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP 28), the delegation of the youth organization Engajamundo, in partnership with Greenpeace Brazil, marked the negotiation space with an urgent message and the first Brazilian activism action of this edition. The intervention, titled “Dolphin Alert: We Want to Swim in Water, Not Oil!” aimed to denounce the socio-environmental impacts that oil exploration in the Amazon region could cause. The action combines the death of dolphins, impacted by the severe drought of the last period, representing the fauna, and the exploitation of oil in the Amazon River Mouth Basin. During the performance, the artwork “Desencanto” by artist Gil Reais, measuring 1.5m x 4m, was used. He participates in projects discussing the climate emergency and how it removes the enchantment from the world, one example being the death of dolphins.

Between 2012 and 2020, the number of oil fields in the Amazon increased by 13%1, and if this new frontier on the Amazonian coast is opened, this number will rise exponentially. It would be an unprecedented advance in the country’s history. Ibama has already given more than one negative response to oil exploration in the area of the Amazon River Mouth Basin due to the socio-environmental vulnerability of the area. However, Petrobras insists, appealed the last decision, and maintains plans to explore the region.

Brazil is the ninth-largest oil producer in the world and, by announcing its entry into OPEC+ (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) at COP 28, shows that the country and its leaders still prioritize oil economically, despite speeches in defense of decarbonization and the formulation of our new NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions). Continuing to bet on this model is not only a socio-environmental and climate mistake – but also, in the face of the global economy’s decarbonization process, it could become an economic misstep, including losing climate financing.

Already paving the way for COP30, the Brazilian government seemingly shows commitment to the energy transition agenda, but fails by fostering oil exploration in one of the most biodiverse regions of the planet, extremely sensitive from a socio-environmental standpoint. In this scenario, it is urgent to amplify the request: No Oil in the Amazon! And that the Brazilian government declares the region an oil-free zone.

For Marcelo Laterman, spokesperson for Greenpeace Brazil, the action carried out in partnership with Engajamundo denounces the Brazilian government’s contradiction in advocating the expansion of oil frontiers in the country, especially in sensitive areas like the Amazon, while seeking to reposition the country in a leading role in the climate agenda. “In a creative way, these young activists send an important message: there is no virtuous future for the Amazon with the advance of oil in the region. The opening of this new frontier may be marked as the worst socio-environmental legacy of President Lula. The government must fulfill what it promised and defend the Amazon, its peoples, and face the climate crisis responsibly,” says Laterman.

Jaciara Borari is one of the indigenous activists from Engajamundo and part of the delegation that set up this action. According to her, “we want this action to somehow express the urgency of this issue reaching decision-makers and that the process of oil exploration in the Amazon River Mouth Basin be reconsidered and halted. Brazil must be aware of the devastating impacts this can cause. There is still time to avoid a major announced disaster!”.

*Heitor Scaff is an activist with Engajamundo, an organization led by young people who believe in their responsibility as a fundamental part of the solution to face the greatest socio-environmental challenges of Brazil and the world. Engajamundo is a partner of the Youth News Agency.

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