Protecting the Reserve of Life

Living Green Magazine has one of my favourite by-lines: “where green is read”. Witty, ha?

Here’s my latest article there, thanks for the love, LGM!

Five new hydro-electric dams have been proposed in southern Chile, in the isolated region of Aysen close to Patagonia. The dams would be structured on the wild, raging Pascua and Baker rivers, which are some of the most bio-diverse waterways in the world.

They have the potential to generate enough energy to power Chile’s growing population and double the energy production in 10 years, which, in turn, makes this a highly controversial, large-scale unsustainable exploitation.

The $10-million project by multi-national developer HidroAysten would cause much environmental damage, on the rivers themselves, the nearby parks, as well as all along the 2,000 km-long transmission line which would transport that energy to the northern provinces.

The Chilean media here are reporting that the people are divided on the issue: they may favour the economic prospects, even though they are worried about the environment, but the growth of population has compromised the standards of living.

They say that the stability of the economy is at stake as much as the environment.
The motto, ‘Aysen: Reserve of Life’ is a predicament here: to prioritize the life for animals and nature, or the people who are trying to subsist there.

The dams would generate 20-30% of power demands by 2020, making it the largest energy project in Chile’s history. Simultaneously, as the 2,000-km-long transmission line with 6,000 support towers would need to be constructed, it would mean wrecking huge areas of untouched forests, diminishing whitewater rapids, drowning a vast expanse of pristine valleys, and destroying the habitat of some of the already endangered species, native, and unique to this region.
Environmentalists are criticizing the stakeholders, companies engaged in generating, transmitting and distributing nuclear, fossil-fueled, hydroelectric, and renewable energies for disregarding the environmental impact assessments and targeting primarily on economic growth.

These stickers and posters are everywhere around ARG & CHI.
It says: Destruction is not a solution! Patagonia without dams. 
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A sliver of a country, Chile spans 4,300 km along the Andes and about 175km average width between the mountain range and the Pacific, thus comprising some of the most dramatic and diverse terrains in the world. It is not rich in oil or gas but it has huge natural, renewable energy supplies: solar, geothermal, hydro, onshore and offshore wind, and tidal. From 2009 all energy producers were required by law to incorporate renewable energies into their programs.
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Conservation Patagonica is the regional environmental agency that is fighting for the designation of Patagonia as a nature park and a regional treasure, for the protection and conservation of its landscape, habitat, biodiversity – their respect and appreciation.
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3 thoughts on “Protecting the Reserve of Life

  1. Lovely!
    Short, concise, to the point, with true facts, and slight flavour of personal inclination to save Patagonia.

  2. Extremely enjoyable, thanks. A great deal has been written about this of late but I like your especially informed guidance.

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