Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on HidroAysen and Patagonia

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Around this time last year, we published an exclusive interview with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. in the winter edition of Patagon Journal. Kennedy spoke to us about the environmental threats to the Futaleufu River and Chilean Patagonia. Here is a link to that interview.
Now, Kennedy is back in the news in Chile. Kennedy, who is president and co-founder of the international Waterkeeper Alliance and a leading environmental lawyer in the United States, has recently been featured in articles in Chile’s Que Pasa magazine and the La Tercera newspaper giving his views on HidroAysen and the current energy and dams debate. He also talks about his future plans, much of which will be done in concert with Futaleufú Riverkeeper, Patagonia's first Waterkeeper program.  Recently, we were given the full transcript from the interview he did for those media. Excerpts:

Issue 6 – The Giants of Patagonia

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Father Alberto de Agostini, the Salesian priest who during the first half of the 19th century wrote 22 books about his explorations in the Patagonian Andes, put it most eloquently when describing this region’s mountains: “Hundreds of peaks still sleep a deep sleep without any human ever penetrating their silent kingdom, an exclusive domain of winds and storms. And nevertheless they are the most beautiful mountains of the world.” 
The mountains of Patagonia are “giants” not just for their sheer size. There is that unparalleled beauty, as Agostini so rightly states. They may not be the highest peaks on the planet, but the extreme conditions and vertical walls found at this southernmost end of the planet make their summits among the world’s most difficult to scale.  And then there is the sheer expanse of the Andes, the longest mountain range on Earth. This issue of Patagon Journal is dedicated to the magnificent Patagonian mountains, and the bold climbers and mountaineers that seek out their rewards.

Opening of the 2nd Patagonia Photo Contest Exhibition in Santiago

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Below, photos from the opening of the 2nd Patagonia Photo Contest Exhibition, July 15, in front of the Patagonia store at Mall Sport in Santiago, Chile. 

The "wild horses" tale

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As the resolutions of the environmental authorities arrives to us, and to HidroAysen, that invalidate previous resolutions and resolves claims against the approval of the HidroAysén project (432 pages), we are waiting to see if that company will appeal to the environmental courts. 

A major victory in Patagonia: Chilean government rejects HidroAysén dam project

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The Baker River near Estancia Chacabuco, future Patagonia National Park..   ©Daniel BeltraThe Baker River near Estancia Chacabuco, future Patagonia National Park.. ©Daniel Beltra
By Amanda Maxwell
Chile’s government – under the leadership of President Bachelet – made a landmark decision today when it rejected the controversial HidroAysén dam project. "The HydroAysen hydroelectric project is rejected," declared the Minister of the Environment upon announcing the decision this morning. This is a major victory for the majority of Chileans and the tens of thousands of people around the world who oppose building large, unsustainable dams in wild Patagonia – and for those who think that Chile can be a global clean energy leader by developing its remarkable potential for renewables* and energy efficiency.

A sustainable Patagonia beyond HidroAysen

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Baker River, by Jimmy LangmanBaker River, by Jimmy Langman
By Patricio Segura
For many, today defines everything. For others, everything stays the same. For me, neither this nor that.
As Energy Minister Maximo Pacheco has said, for anyone who wants to hear him, and as has many congressmen have repeated, today they will not be deciding whether or not to build dams in Patagonia. “A Patagonia without dams is not in play,” has been Pacheco’s exact words.

Issue 5 - Private Parks on the Rise

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Our fifth issue features a cover story on the rise of private parks in Patagonia; a photo essay from one of Chile's longtime photographer legends, Pablo Valenzuela; a special travel section on Chile's Lake District including stories from veteran guidebook author Wayne Bernhardson and British travel writer Gabriel O'Rorke; a report on sustainable fly fishing in Mongolia; and the story behind a recent, historic first winter ascent of Mount Sarmiento in Tierra del Fuego, among several other articles. Below is the full table of contents.

2nd Patagonia Photo Contest

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Patagon Journal announces the launch of its 2nd Patagonia Photo Contest.
Open to amateur or professional photographers, from any country, we want to receive your best images of the Patagonia region of Chile and Argentina.
This is a part of the world that without doubt provides extraordinary possibilities for photography.  Last year, our inaugural contest was a great success with an impressive display of photos that made it difficult to decide the winning images. So, to help us with that honorable task this year, we have a distinguished panel of judges; they include:

Photo Gallery: Dynamic Chiloé

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Editors Note: This is the sixth article in our special series "Travel in Los Lagos," sponsored by Sernatur Los Lagos. 

Text and photos by Nicholas Gill
One of southern Chile’s most dynamic places for its landscape, food and culture is Chiloé, the stunningly beautiful archipelago hanging off of continental Chile, but twisted in some distinctive form. Though the main island can be reached via a short ferry ride across the Chacao Channel from the mainland, Chiloé has developed in large part in insolation, forming a culture unlike anywhere else in the country.
This is a place where tales of mythological figures such as sirens, witches and ghost ships are woven into the fabric of daily life. These superstitions were originally a product of the indigenous Huiliche communities, but when the Spanish arrived Chilote folklore began to fuse with elements of Christianity. That transition was sped forward greatly when Jesuit missionaries built hundreds of wood shingle churches, many of which are now UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The archipelago is a place of rolling green hills, dramatic beaches, and thick temperate forests, which together form one of the most unique collections of flora and fauna in South America. That ecological diversity has also helped give Chiloé one of Chile’s most distinct regional cuisines.  While curanto - a potluck of meat, shellfish, and tubers that are cooked in an earthen oven – is the most representative dish, there’s much more to be found here. Traditionally a seafaring culture, the diet here is rich in fish and shellfish, as well as aquatic plants, though the patchwork of green pastures provides grazing room for lambs as fine as any in Patagonia and the growing of potatoes, which are used in almost everything.
Modern Chiloé is increasingly leaning on its past. In the capital of Castro the iconic palafitos, stilted wood buildings, are being turned into cafes and boutique hotels, effectively preserving them. Modern architects are building structures that resemble the hulls of ships. Natural resources, such as the Puñihuil penguin colony or the forests and swampland of Chiloé National Park, are being protected with help from the increasing number of tourists. An airport, Mocopulli, is even in operation here now, which means you can reach Castro by flights from Santiago and Puerto Montt, though the ferry system is more efficient than it has even been.
1. The cushy, all-inclusive 12-room Refugia Lodge on an isolated shore outside of Castro, used master Chilote woodcarvers to create the furniture and frame, while they filled it with hand spun, naturally dyed textiles from the archipelago. 1. The cushy, all-inclusive 12-room Refugia Lodge on an isolated shore outside of Castro, used master Chilote woodcarvers to create the furniture and frame, while they filled it with hand spun, naturally dyed textiles from the archipelago.
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