Katie Mathieson, a student fellow from Davidson College, writes about environmental activism in Patagonia, in particular a movement to stop the building of mega-hydroelectric dams, funded by Douglas and Kristine Tompkins, whose fortune comes from the North Face outdoor clothing company. Calling the Tompkins “the most controversial conservationists on the continent,“ Katie writes, “Their biggest project, Pumalin Park, is 300,000 acres and stretches from the coast of Chile to the border with Argentina. For some this is an impressive accomplishment in conservation—others, especially local residents, remain skeptical.” Carlos Olivares, who heads a local opposition group, says, “I want you all to know that Mr. Tompkins doesn’t represent us. He has come to invade our land.”

China gives environmental approval to country's biggest hydro dam

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s environment ministry has given the go-ahead for the construction of what will become the country’s tallest hydroelectric dam despite acknowledging it will have an impact on plants and rare fish.

The dam, with a height of 314 meters (1,030 feet), will serve the Shuangjiangkou hydropower project on the Dadu River in southwestern Sichuan province.

To be built over 10 years by a subsidiary of state power firm Guodian Group, it is expected to cost 24.68 billion yuan ($4.02 billion) in investment.

The ministry, in a statement issued late on Tuesday, said an environmental impact assessment had acknowledged that the project would have a negative impact on rare fish and flora and affect protected local nature reserves.

Developers, it said, had pledged to take “counter-measures” to mitigate the effects.

China aims to raise the share of non-fossil fuels in its energy mix to 15 percent by 2020, up from 9.4 percent in 2011. Hydropower is expected to make the biggest contribution.

It has vowed to speed up construction of dams in the 2011-2015 period after slowing it down following the completion of the controversial Three Gorges project in 2005.

Environmental groups silent. Dam will be 1,000 feet tall, about the same height as the Eiffel Tower.

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Chief Raoni of the Caiapo tribe from the Amazon basin smokes a pipe while demonstrating against the construction of the planned Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, in Brasilia February 8, 2011.

REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

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Water and power were two things he never associated with each other.

Sure he understood the concept. Water spun a turbine which would generate electricity. But water always seemed so gentle, so soft, so unassuming. It moved when it was pushed providing no resistance. It was, as his sister called it, the most forgiving of nature’s elements.

How then could something so weak produce as much energy as it supposedly did?

It made no sense. Or at least it made no sense until his father took him to see the dam. To stand next to the water and feel the raw power, raw energy as it sped passed.

Panem-District 5


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Patagonia Rising

I'm sorry but...

Is it just me who thinks that solar energy, wind power and hydroelectricity could sound like something out of a fairy tale if they weren’t already in place. I mean, we’re capturing the sun light and turning it into electricity… We have wind farms with turbines that sound like big creatures “turning automatically towards the wind” and then there’s hydroelectricity… Harnessing the energy from falling water… It could be in a Barbie Fairytopia movie… Just saying…

“While newspapers and television talk about the lives of celebrities, the chief of the Kayapo tribe received the worst news of his life:

Dilma, "The new president of Brazil, has given approval to build a huge hydroelectric plant (the third largest in the world). It is the death sentence for all the people near the river because the dam will flood 400,000 hectares of forest. More than 40,000 Indians will have to find another place to live. The natural habitat destruction, deforestation and the disappearance of many species is a fact.”

What moves me in my very bowels , making me ashamed of being part of Western culture, is the reaction of the chief of the Kayapo community when he learned of the decision—his gesture of dignity and helplessness before the advance of capitalist progress, modern predatory civilization that does not respect the differences …

But we know that a picture is worth a thousand words, showing the reality of the true price of our bourgeois “quality of life”.

(source: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kevin/255079767856206)