Blogs

Patagonia dams conflict: From outrage to elation

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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead

Beginning with the “crazy” idea of a small conservation group, the campaign Patagonia Without Dams has snowballed into one of the greatest environmental movements in history.

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Wild extractivism and energy greed of transnational corporations

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Here we have before our eyes, shamelessly, the Chilean neoliberal model in all its pride and arrogance, which has recently dispatched almost simultaneously two central issues regarding the environmental and social future of this region.
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Letter from scientists on glacial hazards in Chilean Patagonia

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A group of scientists today sent a letter to Chile’s government warning that it must step up efforts to address threats posed by melting glaciers, particularly the deluges known as glacial lake outburst floods, or Glofs. “As the landscape responds to climate and global changes, the time for action is running out,” says the letter from scientists from Chile, Canada, Europe and the United States. “The glacial risks in Patagonia carry economic and social implications. They will not only affect the landscape, but the infrastructure and people as well.”
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Puyehue volcano erupts (photo gallery)

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The photographer that won the World Press Photo award for best photo of 2008 for his incredible images of the Chaiten volcano eruption in May of that same year, Carlos Gutiérrez, was near Puyehue at the precise moment to capture the 6 mile-high plume and smoke that soared into the sky from the volcano when in entered into eruption on Saturday, June 4 (a NASA satellite recorded this image from space). The ash cloud moved east across the Andes, darkening the skies of Bariloche, Villa de Angostura and other towns in Argentine Patagonia and leaving them inundated with ash. About 3,500 people living near the volcano in Chile have been evacuated though some have defied warnings and stayed behind to care for their livestock. 

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Dams, Patagonia, and Chile's energy future

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The national debate that has erupted in Chile over its energy future and the future of Patagonia brings new optimism. As Chilean economist Manfred Max-Neef commented in a recent interview: “The approval of HidroAysen might just be a good thing, because it is uniting the country against the project.” 

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Ten reasons HidroAysen is not necessary

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1. It is not true that the demand for electricity in Chile needs to double in 10 years. In fact, it has grown at an annual rate of just 3.8% in the last 11 years, and any reasonable analysis shows a growth rate no greater than 4.5% per year.

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The transfer of the public forests of Chubut

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A lengthy process culminated in Das Neves signing a decree that deregulates the power of the province and goes straight to the administration of the Directorate of Forests and Parks. The danger with this power shift is that it will allow business to use the forest as an instrument to gain profit off the lucrative real estate development in northwest Chubut. It’s an absurd plan that mirrors the implementation in the Menem era of the mining code that allowed for the transfer of national mineral resources to the provinces and further paved the way for corporations, which obviously have a better chance at avoiding the power of the petty feudal lords who manage the natural assets of the provinces.
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Patagonia's wild rivers at risk (with photographic essay)

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A plan to build five large-scale hydroelectric dams on the Baker and Pascua rivers in Chilean Patagonia, then send the power to Chile’s capitol Santiago via an immense 2,300- kilometer electric transmission line that traverses numerous parks and protected areas, is entering a crucial stage. 
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Nuclear energy and dams, two faces of the same nonsense

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If they approve the Castilla coal-fired energy plant, it’s a sign that the government gives priority to big projects regardless of whether they contaminate the environment. It could not be better for HydroAysen and Energia Austral.

If they reject the Barrancones coal-fired energy plant, it will mean less energy for Chile which will make more imperious the big projects for lack of electricity. It could not be better for HydroAysen and Energia Austral.

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