Friday, November 27, 2009

Dams, bio-fuel plantations cannot be classified "green energy": NGO

November 27, 2009
The Star

MIRI: Hydro-electric dam projects and biofuel-plantation projects that uproot tribal folks from their ancestral homes must be de-listed from their ''green energy'' tags and classified as ''people-destructive and eco-unfriendly'' projects, said the latest report from Survival International, a global organisation involved in protecting tribal people.

The organisation, with its headquarters in London, wants the international community and governments to stop classifying these energy-production projects as ''green projects'' if these projects ruined the lives of native communities.

Survival International Director, Stephen Corry, in an email to The Star Friday, furnished a copy of the latest report entitled ''The Most Inconvenient Truth of All'' in which the RM9bil-Bakun Dam and the RM3bil Murum Dam projects in central Sarawak were cited as among these global projects that had harmed the indigenous people and the environment.

The report also criticised similar projects in places in Africa and other continents.

It said that from South America to Borneo, the native people and the environment were suffering more intensely compared to before because of the so-called green projects being implemented by governments and rich corporations.

''Bio-fuel is being promoted all over the world as the alternative green energy to fossil fuels. However, in the pretext of going green, the reverse is actually happening.

''From South America to Borneo, we are seeing the destruction of massive areas of jungles and the ruin of ancestral homes belonging to tens of thousands of tribal people.

''Hiding behind these global push to supposedly prevent climate change by reducing the use of fossil fuels, governments and giant companies are actually using them as excuses to grab land from the natives.

''Projects that victimise the people like this and that harm the environment cannot be promoted or marketed as green projects,'' said Corry.

The Survival International report also said that many of the so-called green fuel projects being implemented across the globe were merely excuses to make money at the expense of the tribal folks and the ecosystem.

Corry said that the world community must see through this hidden agenda.

''As usual, where money is concerned and vast profits are at stake, the indigenous people throughout the world are being swept aside,'' he charged.

The report called for a complete global relook of hydro-electric dam projects and biofuel projects because these projects were causing even more harm to the people and to the environment as compared to before.

The Bakun project in interior Belaga district is already 95percent completed. The flooding of the dam that measures the size of Singapore Island will start next year.

The Murum project, 70kms inland from Bakun, is just starting, with site-construction already in progress.

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