On November 5th, 2015, an unprecedented environmental disaster took place in the interior state of Minas Gerais in Brazil. Two dams containing runoff material from nearby mines, ruptured and sent a wave of chemically hazardous sludge throughout the nearby regions. The dams, located in the municipality of Mariana, covered entire towns and wildlife in a thick layer of sludge, and moved its way to the Rio Doce which now runs a deep orange color.
The Brazilian government has placed its bet on Amazonian hydroelectric infrastructure as a key piece of its clean energy future. A national discourse about the green economy and sustainable development surround such large development projects today, despite the long and distressing historical track record of building large dams in the Amazon.