jungle has been zoned for oil development alone. And according to
recent studies, in just 10 years nearly half the Peruvian
rainforest - one of the most biologically diverse areas on Earth - may be
past the point of no return if current rates of deforestation
continue. In The Real Avatar, David Suzuki sets off for the Amazon to
investigate the effect this rush is having on the native peoples who
call this land their home.
Under the shadow of the Cordillera del Condor mountains, and near
where the mighty Amazon river begins, live the Awajun and Wampis
peoples, a proud, warrior nation, never conquered by the Incas or the
Spanish. Today, they feel they are being invaded again: Peruvian and
Canadian mining companies aim to set up a gold mine on land these
natives say is their traditional territory. In fact, the Awajun had an
agreement for the establishment of a National Park along the
Cordillera that would protect their land. But the Awajun found their
agreement broken, quite literally in two, when Peru's President gave
half the area over to mining interests. Studies indicate that mining
here would devastate the areas water system - water that flows to the
downstream Awajun communities.
The Awajun were already part of a deadly confrontation with National
Police in 2009 over Peru's plans for "developing" the Amazon - can
more violence be avoided in the future?
In the southern province of Madre de Dios, native peoples fought
successfully for over a decade to establish a communal Reserve to
protect their lands from illegal mining and logging. The Reserve
created was so protected that not even the natives themselves were
allowed to use it. And yet today, this same Reserve finds itself
nearly totally engulfed by Oil Block 76, sold to the Hunt Oil
Corporation of Texas. As Hunts exploratory work begins, the natives
find themselves divided. Some feel oil development will bring jobs and
money, while others fear the social and environmental impacts, and
know their very way of life is at risk.
And for those nearby "Uncontacted" natives living in the forest in
voluntary isolation, in the same way they have for thousands of years,
the stakes are even higher.
In The Real Avatar, David Suzuki journeys to the Peruvian Amazon to
see first-hand the forces threatening the way of life of its
indigenous peoples, and to explore the magnificent beauty and richness
of this now-vanishing land, this "Pandora" on Earth.
A dramatic story of cultures in conflict, with the fate of the Amazon
hanging in the balance, The Real Avatar is shot in full HD and is
produced and directed by Roberto Verdecchia.