Amazon: Belo Monte Dam on Google Earth

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International Rivers and Amazon Watch have partnered with actors Sigourney Weaver and Dira Paes to produce a new Google Earth tour and video called “Defending the Rivers of the Amazon.”

The tour illustrates the impacts of diverting the mighty Xingu River
, such as reducing access to water along a 100-km stretch called the "Big Bend," where two indigenous tribes have lived for generations. It animates the flooding associated with the dam, impacts on the region’s spectacular biodiversity, and maps over 60 Brazilian dams that form a part of the more than 140 large dams planned for the entire Amazon Basin in the future.

Our second Google Earth layer, "Endangered Rivers," highlights the perils of a modern dam boom in two key regions: The Himalayas, where dozens of large dams are planned, and the Amazon, where many more destructive projects threaten major tributaries such as the Madeira and Xingu rivers. Also featured is an in-depth look at the impacts of the world's largest dam project, China's Three Gorges Dam. Some of the data in the second layer are now outdated, but the layer is being kept online for posterity.

Take a look, and get involved.

More information: 

Google Earth is a free program that gives the user a bird's eye view of the planet, zooming out to see the whole earth spinning on its axis or zooming in to view a high-resolution dam photograph taken from an orbiting satellite. To learn more about how to use Google Earth click here.