dam nation

Image by Kalyanee Mam. Cambodia, 2014. 

Cambodian Dam Project May Threaten People and Endangered Species

Southwestern Cambodia’s Areng Valley is home to the Chong people, who have lived in the area for centuries, and to over 31 endangered species. Villagers have recently teamed up with Buddhist monks from Phnom Penh in an effort to protect the valley from a hydroelectric dam project. Filmmaker Kalyanee Mam highlights the region’s significance to one family—and what it might mean to lose their home—in her short documentary Fight for Areng Valley.

Read the full interview of Pulitzer Center grantee Kalyanee Mam, conducted by Rachel Link, via National Geographic.


Dam Nation

Important Fall Reading List, part 1

Since Predator Came: Notes From the Struggle for American Indian Liberation

by Ward Churchill

HALF PRICE! Since Predator came is from Ward Churchill, the famous Colorado Professor who was fired for his remarks about 9/11. In this book of essays, he addresses a wide range of topics relevant to Native American existence today. From the landing of Columbus up through the case of Leonard Peltier, on to current perceptions of the indigenous rights movement from both the right and the left. This is a hefty and informative book at ½ off the original price! Order here: http://pioneerspress.com/catalog/books/2409/

Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America

Paul Avrich, a New York City professor of History, let’s the anarchists speak for themselves in this mighty tome. 180 interviewees, mostly anarchists, friends, associates, and relatives, talk about their motivations as individualists, collectivists, pacifists, and revolutionaries. There are firsthand recollections of Emma Goldman, Rudolf Rocker, Sacco and Vanzetti and other key anarchists, experiences in libertarian schools and colonies, and observations of the dangers of authoritarian communism, bureaucracy and entrenched institutions. Interviews include Roger Baldwin, founder of the American Civil Liberties Union, Daniel Guerin, Peter Kropotkin, and Dwight Macdonald. This book profiles a movement continuing to appeal with its calls for self-determination, direct grass-roots action and voluntary cooperation. Order here: http://pioneerspress.com/catalog/books/2551/

How Shall I Live My Life?: On Liberating The Earth From Civilization

by Derrick Jensen

A new collection of interviews edited by Derrick Jensen discussing the destruction left in the wake of dominant culture. He talks to ten people who have devoted their lives to countering it. We hear about Carolyn Raffensperger’s radical approach to public health, Thomas Berry’s perceptions of the sacred, from Kathleen Dean Moore that our bodies are made of mountains, rivers, and sunlight, Vine Deloria asserts that our dreams tell us more about the world than science can, and many other activists and philosophers are interviewed; each bravely present a few of the endless forms that resistance can and must take. Order here: http://pioneerspress.com/catalog/books/2695/

Dam Nation: Dispatches from the Water Underground

Dam Nation combines environmental victories in the sustainable-use movement with hands-on, participatory options for country and city dwellers. Not just a “how to” but a “why to,” the book begins with the story of dams in the American West—a story in which millions of acres of perfect farmland were flooded in order to irrigate the marginal land that, due to the same natural process that destroyed several ancient Native American civilizations, would turn the area into the Dust Bowl. Cleo Woelfle-Erskine and Laura Allen, both restoration activists and educators, demand a different approach for American watersheds and taxpayers. Through their own experiments with alternative water systems and thousands of hours of interviews with innovators from around the world, they create a comprehensive plan for re-using household water, constructing miniature wetlands, and improving our communities’ physical and political healths. Order here: http://pioneerspress.com/catalog/books/2758/

Documentary Watchlist: Cows, Pipelines and Dams

One of the interesting insights I came to through my involvement in Blackfish, is that in the age of infotainment and cable-news superficiality, documentaries are filling an increasingly important niche. They are increasingly the best format to learn about almost any subject you choose. Not only are documentaries proliferating as film-making technology becomes more affordable and sophisticated,…

View On WordPress

Back to nature: Last chunk of Elwha dams out in September

Fish are storming back to the Elwha, there’s a sandy beach at the mouth of the river again, and native plants are growing where there used to be lakes.

Dam removal is critical in saving native wild runs of steelhead and salmon in the Pacific Northwest.  There are other ways to generate electricity that have minimal impact on the environment.  Solar and wind are two ways to compensate for dam generated power.


Kinzua Dam: Captured this from two perspectives. Naturally I had to get up close. It was so powerful. It reminded me of Niagra Falls. It was definitely intimidating. It gave me this uneasy feeling in my stomach. I highly recommend visiting such a compelling dam up-close.

My boyfriend taking me on a lovely boat ride through Lake Mead in Las Vegas to see the Hoover Dam (at Lake Mead National Recreation Area)

successwillbeinevitable asked for some suggestions of where to go in adelaide. here’s a quick list. i’m sure once you get through with these sarah, i’ll have a whole new list for you ☺️

newland head conservation park:
• gorgeous cliff views, very strong winds, not particularly difficult. ridgehill hike feels pretty boring. do not recommend. stick to the coastal cliffs hike.

horsnell gully/gilles conservation park:
• lots of ruins, and hills. some steep sections with loose gravel and rocks. there is a waterfall there when it’s been raining a little. not many trails in this park. yurrebilla passes through here.

sturt gorge conservation park:
• it’s a gorge. enter the park and you head straight downhill. the river trail is a nice easy walk following the sturt river. not fun going back to the car. you can also visit the sturt dam.

onkaparinga river national park:
• very big park, lots of trails to explore. i suggest the sundews ridge hike to get to the lookout and then deviating to the sundews river hike which takes you straight down the gorge to the river. gorgeous!

deep creek conservation park:
• highly recommend the aaron creek hikes. amazing views, lots of kangaroos, beautiful cascading waterfall and lush greens everywhere in the wetter months. waterfall hike is also a nice short one. it’s a downhill steep walk from tent rock road, but getting back up is hell.

black hill conservation park:
• easily one of my favourites within the greater mount lofty ranges. damn good workout. can take the long way up to the summit via quarry boundary track, steep in some bits, bearable though. can take a shorter route to summit, but requires you literally climbing the side of the hill. beautiful views of the city, quarry and there’s always a kangaroo or two out and about.

scott creek conservation park:
• lots of trails via many gates on different roads. the roads to get here are quite scary but it’s a lovely place once you get there. didn’t get to explore too much of this park, but the bits i saw were gorgeous.

shepherds hill recreation park:
• nice leisurely walk along the trails, but probably wouldn’t do it again. i found the trails to be pretty boring.

belair national park:
• there’s something for everyone here! easy walks to more challenging hikes. beautiful waterfall in the winter time! echo tunnel scares me but the surrounds of it looks like something out of a fairytale.

cleland conservation park:
take winter track up to long ridge lookout, amazing view of the city! can go up chambers gully instead to make the hike a little longer. pengana track is one hell of a hill, if you start it, prepare to finish it because there is no turning back (unless you feel like rolling down)

marion coastal trail:
• easy walk along the boardwalk and up some stairs. cliff views, can spot a dolphin or two if you look close enough. connects to hallett cove conservation park, make your walk last a little longer and go explore the sugarloaf.

mount george conservation park:
• few trails in this park. heysen passes through here. definitely recommend the ridge/summit hike, outcrops at the top and epic views of the mount lofty ranges. not particularly hard, can come down on a fire track to avoid the narrow track back down.

ingallala falls:
• not a very long walk to the waterfall, but the waterfall is definitely worth visiting. if you’re game, you can climb up the side of the first falls and once you get to the top of that, you’re greeted with a second fall and a rock pool. stunning. second valley forest reserve sits next door, so you can easily go and explore that afterwards.

hindmarsh falls:
• again, beautiful waterfall! not much in the way of walking trails, but you can definitely hop the fence and explore a little. can also access a part of the park via the car park, not sure where it leads though.

morialta conservation park:
• just go. it’s so pretty there. lots of waterfalls to see! trails range from easy to damn steep!

cudlee creek forest reserve:
• highly recommend. forest trees makes you feel like you’ve stepped into some wonderland. beautiful views of rolling hills. tracks are mostly fire tracks so not so bad.


Hoover Dam, Nevada/Arizona

We took the tour of the inside of the dam, and even got to look out from one of the four grates from the middle of the dam. Did you know that the base of the dam is as wide as it is tall? Also, it takes 200 years for the concrete laid in the 1930′s to fully cure. 

“Hoover Dam fulfilled the goal of disseminating the one-wild Colorado River through the parched Southwest landscape, fueling the development of such major cities as Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix. Capable of irrigating 2 million acres, its 17 turbines generate enough electricity to power 1.3 million homes. The dam was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985 and one of America’s Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders in 1994. It receives some 7 million visitors annually, while Lake Mead, the world’s largest reservoir, hosts another 10 million as a popular recreation area.” (History.com, 2010)