Blogs

Photo Essay: Lago Puelo

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Located just south of the town of El Bolson in Argentine Patagonia is Lake Puelo. Situated inside Lago Puelo National Park, its fed by four rivers and it feeds a fifth, Chile´s increasingly popular Puelo River. The park was formed in 1971 and houses in addition to this tremendous lake an especially unique forest ecosystem, the transition zone between the Valdivian rainforest predominant to southern Chile and the Patagonian-Andean forest. Here, there is unique flora found nowhere else. Fauna include the world´s smallest deer, the pudu, and Chile´s emblematic species, another deer, the huemul.  
 
Patricia Sprignuoli, an Argentine architect and photographer from Buenos Aires and now a resident of Lake Puelo, shares with us here some photos of the park. You can see more of her photography at her blog, Patagonia - My Place in the World. 
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The next phase in HidroAysen's environmental review has begun

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HidroAysén – the company proposing a massive hydroelectric scheme in Chile’s Patagonia – began the next phase of its environmental impact review by submitting replies to the 1,114 criticisms that state agencies filed about its environmental impact assessment during the last phase in the autumn of 2009.  This month, the Regional Environmental Commission will decide whether to approve the project, ask for more information, or reject it outright.  It is almost certain that HidroAysén’s latest documents will still not produce information sufficient to warrant its approval or meet international standards, and in that case, it should be rejected. 
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Electric Mining

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We have been reporting on details little known about the mining and electric transnational companies, making a lot of reference to HidroAysén and little to Energia Austral, the subsidiary of the transnational mining giant Xstrata and owner of this project to build two dams on the CuervoRiver. Indeed, one criticism we make of ourselves is that we are dedicating too little attention to this project. How is that it may go unnoticed this company and mega-project that brings together all that we criticize, whose energy will be produced at the cost of the environment and the people of Aysen, and has a clear objective to feed the mines of El Morro & La Fortuna and El Pachon?
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The Panacea for Protecting Trout?

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There are many arguments about whether catch and release fishing helps to protect trout. Personally, while it is only part of what is needed, I think it is useful in helping to preserve this species. There exist detractors, though, that are not in agreement and say that to return the fish to the water is of little value. Good ideas can have all kinds of tastes sometimes.
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Magallanes bajo ataque: Parte 2, La expansión de las irregularidades salmoneras

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La Región de Magallanes enfrenta un desafío mayor: resistir la llegada masiva de proyectos de producción salmonera en, quizás, la última oportunidad de sobrevivir que tiene la Industria que colapsó ambiental y socialmente a las Regiones de Los Lagos y de Aysén, en pos de un “éxito” que desapareció entre Julio y Diciembre del año 2007, como efecto de la epidemia del virus ISA.
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Mining: Salvation or Condemnation?

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The news about the miners trapped in the San Jose mine in the Copiapo area has kept all of us in suspense. Together with that has come a challenge to the enforcement of existing safety problems in mining. 
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Glacial Risks in Chile

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In early September, an international symposium in Chile will address a fascinating and increasingly important topic in global climate change:  GLOFs. 
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Patagonian Myths: Plan Andinia

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This “plan” has become just one more of the already hundreds of Patagonian myths. Never the less, inventing stories about little known mysterious places will always bear fruit, and there will be many dreamers and innocents who will buy them. Apparently, fantasy is more entertaining than fact. Some years ago there were famous Patagonian myths about dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures that made it to the front pages of the Argentinean press. This mythology has even been used for political ends, such as the conveniently publicized inaugurations of the “Austral Highway” at some concrete bridge, so that further to the north people come in summer to visit Aisén expecting to find a paved motorway. Certainly, in recent decades, myths have been added and disseminated as a means of marketing by the promoters of some megaproject or other.
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¡No Pasaran!

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Todavía no me repongo del asombro que me provocó leer la primera entrevista que le realizó El Mercurio al flamante embajador de la hermana República de Chile en la Argentina, Adolfo Zaldívar, donde declara: "Si se hacen las hidroeléctricas en Aysén, sería factible que la línea transmisora venga por Argentina." De esta forma Zaldívar confiesa un plan que estarían urdiendo los gobiernos de ambos países para encontrarle una salida a la confrontación que mantiene en vilo a toda la Patagonia: el intento de construir entre 5 y 19 mega represas hidroeléctricas desde Aysén hasta el Río Puelo.
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