Damn Dams — The Dirty Secret of Hydropower

No Secret to the Lives it Destroys

Balbina Dam in Amazon, Brazil Photo credit: Seabirds / Wikimedia (CC BY 3.0)

Hydropower, often viewed as an “environmentally friendly” source of energy, is neither clean nor green.

Activists say hydropower devastates lives, destroys rivers, produces methane which contributes to global warming, and fuels corruption.

In fact, the only thing green about it is the money it earns for the few.

These activists, via a broad coalition of groups, are urging world leaders in Paris today to withdraw their support — and funding — from major dam-building projects.

“Particularly in tropical regions, hydropower reservoirs emit significant amounts of greenhouse gases, comparable to the climate impact of the aviation sector,” said Peter Bosshard, interim Executive Director of International Rivers. “For environmental, social and economic reasons, large hydropower projects are a false solution to climate change.”

Besides wrecking the environment, the dams often devastate local populations, according to the coalition, which also represents indigenous people. Rivers are the lifeline of these people.

Watching a sparkling river, running wild and free, then trapped by dam builders, is a little bit like seeing a magnificent elephant taken down by poachers. It is heart-breaking.

The activist groups have released a powerful video that details the many dangers of major hydropower projects.

Related front page panorama photo credit: Hartwell Dam Spillway (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District / FlickrCC BY 2.0)

The Wrong Climate for Damming Rivers from Todd Southgate on Vimeo.

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2 responses to “Damn Dams — The Dirty Secret of Hydropower”

  1. Charming Richard says:

    Maybe it’s my computer connection, but those ‘likey’ icons to not quite the left of the text interfere with reading the essay. Annoying.