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Old 01-23-2013   #11
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 90
Nice, Evan...

I like the balanced approach you speak of. I can remember a handful of videos from years back showing the "quaint" locals living a traditional way of life near a river that might be dammed. The attitude of paddlers seemed to be "how could you want to lose this river and this scene for mere power."

It always seemed so ridiculous to me that the perspective of the "old man with the yak" was not noted or even considered... My guess would be that he might be willing to sacrifice his local river, including some flora and fauna, to have the kind of money that allows one to globetrot and film those who do not have siad luxury. It behooves all of us to remember that we would not have this sport at this level without many of the river manipulations that allowed the settling and exploitation of the West.

I am not advocating for the Patagonia dam projects, mind you, or a great many of our own dams here in the US, for that matter. Just noting how much I personally would enjoy a film that showed ALL aspects of this situation and the consequences of building or not building the dams. Best of luck. Your project will get some coin from me, if the numbers hold for a bit at my daily drudgery.(Gotta make sure I can fund my own selfish little trips this year before I can support your do-goodery) Definite props on an admirable attitude regarding your project. Things are complicated when it comes to these situations. I look forward to seeing and hearing your perspective as it unfolds. Dam Refreshing.

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Old 01-24-2013   #12
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,239
Not to jack Evan 's thread, but your "guess " that locals would be "willing to sacrifice "their river for the supposed benefits is almost always Not the case.The locals in Belize opposed the dam I posted about .Only the politicians,the dam company, and neo - liberal financiers of self serving development schemes favored it.
Paul Heesaker recently made a video about Rios Guatemala 's conservation efforts and an incident where river runners were held captive by irate villagers who feared they were agents of dams or mining interests.The film got into the history of the Chixoy dam where villagers opposing it were literally slaughtered.It told the perspective of the locals, the paddlers, and locals who benefitted from rafting operations on the Rio Cahabon. While against the dams and supportive of the locals in general, it showed the captors irrationality, superstition, and make it up as you go justice as well.In the end they were far more just than the outside world has been to them.

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Old 01-24-2013   #13
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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Not to harp on Chalillo but it is a microcosm of this type of development and who really gains and loses from it.These articles give a pretty good overview of this type development, it 's politics and impacts.

Editorial - Chalillo Dam - Who will benefit?, San Pedro Sun, Belize News or Chalillo Dam Who Will Benefit?

search Franklin River to Chalillo. For a piece that tells how Tasmanians succeeded in preventing a dam that would have compromised that awesome river wilderness.

We can 't oppose all development but can demand that it be done responsibly, not just in ways that maximize profit.
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Old 01-24-2013   #14
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 90
hey Cayo

"We can 't oppose all development but can demand that it be done responsibly, not just in ways that maximize profit."

Exactly. Sort of.

Nor should we oppose all development. As developed countries tend to have a higher standard of living than undeveloped countries, allowing activities such as kayaking and affording us both the time to bicker in cyberspace regarding the subject at hand.

We developed our country, reaped the enormous benefits and then often adopt a NIMBY-esque attitude toward other countries doing the same. I am sure we could agree that there are dams that have been created for the benefit of the many at the expense of the few and that other dams have been created at the expense of the many for the benefit of the few. I support the former, when done responsibly, and I detest the latter. For the record, the only thing I want to see slaughtered is a 15-foot boof to fluff...

You seem to be assuming that I am simply pro-dam or pro-profit. Either black or white... I support responsible drilling, logging, mining and hydro-power projects, because I enjoy the quality of life that these resources provide us. It is as simple as that. I also support AW and other river conservation efforts when they make sense, as they often do.

Regarding my guess on locals take on development... I have been to many different villages on 3 continents. Some villagers that I visited with would agree with your line of thought (Central/South America, generally) and others long for the first world in a big, big way (East Africa, generally). At risk of sounding like a jerk, "almost always is not the case" is a very broad generalization and I would imagine neither you or I could back up our perspectives on this unequivocally. These things depend on many, many factors. My experience tells me we are both right and that these projects and the purported benefits are to be analyzed in situ. Evan seems to be looking at his project in this manner and I think that is great.

I long to paddle the Fu and other Patagonian runs, but it would be unfair for me to fight for that if this project could greatly benefit the Chilean people. My guess is that it may be unnecessary and not worth it, considering the environmental impact, etc., but the fact is I do not know and am merely interested in finding out before supporting or condemning it. Your link was interesting. Please post any other similar info you have or PM it to me. I do enjoy reading and following up on others perspectives.

Edited - Meant to sign off properly and respectfully, but hit the wrong button. Best to you - Dave
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Old 01-25-2013   #15
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Apr 2007
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Didn't mean to seem overly hostile to you, just disagreed mainly on that one point.Indigenous peoples in.particular nearly always oppose outsiders developing their areas because of their special affinity and connections to that specific place and they have been screwed before in most instances.In some /most under developed and "less developed "( World Bank /IMF terminology) what we used to call third and second world countriese,they do want /need development of critical infrastructure to improve their quality of life and facilitate commerce.Indeed that is the selling point of these projects.But, in reality it seldom plays out that way for the people impacted.A rosier than realistic prognosis of positive economic impacts is claimed by those lobbying for it.There are frequently cost overruns that translate into more debt and higher rates for citizens /consumers.The debt gives the financiers leverage over the country 's policy decisions like tax rates and regulation and worse case scenario forces the privatization of public assets.The externalities, social and environmental problems, are left to the host country to deal with and not included in the economic model's sales pitch.
Yes judge each case on it 's own merit and particulars.Some are more needed and ethically structured than others,but be vigilant against wolves in sheep 's clothing.Be especially leery of corporations that have lobbied for deregulation there or elsewhere.If they won 't play by the rules hire a more ethical competitor.

I agree with the respondant to the OP 's trailer :if you use hydro power do smaller scale in stream flow through generation more and large dams less.I prefer responsible hydro to increased fossil fuel consumption.Conservation, smart planning, more efficient agriculture (water and energy wise), local tidal or geothermal, and renewable energy are the long term solutions.Fast tracking those things and increased efficiency in fossil fueled consumption patterns while we transition over to them are the short term necessities if we intend to not completely trash this orb.
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Old 01-25-2013   #16
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
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Sounds like a cool project and a great trip Evan. Good luck.

My two cents...

As kayakers we are educated that dams are bad and that we should fight them. Its easy to be against dams, but its not as simple a choice as dam or no dam. If they don't build a dam... then what... do they dam another river, or build a coal power plant, or a gas pipeline, or clear cut the jungle to make a solar farm or wind farm?

Also I think we need to think bigger than just local environmental damage and local people displaced. Locals who would be flooded out will fight dams, but impoverished people further away could benefit greatly from access to power, which helps to secure clean water and food.

Energy is only one piece of the puzzle. Energy, food, and water are all linked together. Its a major global humanitarian issue that millions of people die from easily preventable causes becuase they don't have clean water, food, or shelter. What is often overlooked is that access to power is a key enabler to developing clean water and food. Having to haul a bucket of water miles to your hut vs. having an electrically powered water purification facility, or a well pump are two different worlds.

I don't know what the answer is, but the question is a lot more complex than dam or no dam. I like that Evan talked about investigating alternatives, because if the dam does not go... something else will, and what impact will that have?
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Old 01-25-2013   #17
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 90
Hey cayo,

Didn't feel hostility at all from you. I like lively discussion, learning things and clean resolutions... I couldn't agree more with your last post. So complicated, but so important to get right. I really thing the micro-hydro power ideas could prove to be very powerful now and down the road. I also agree about alterior motives from proponents of the dams, as fully developed countries are in a position of having to expand there enterprises in order to continue the never-ending growth our economic model is geared towards. Nowadays, it seems that the vast majority of these hydro products lean towards the benefit of the few over the many... Without another Louisiana Purchase or Alaska at pennies on the acre our nation is left with the need to find situations that we can exploit to maintain our current staus quo. Anyway, getting windy for paddling stuff here.

I also like the comment from Deepsouth - So often we are taught the Orwellian-mantra "Dam bad, no dam good" as paddlers and obviously it is just not that simple. Cheers to you all and might I recommend Jared Diamonds new book "The World Until Yesterday" (the third and final book in his trilogy with Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse) Though not exactly in line with the dam thing, it is a very interesting perspective on traditional societies and their views. Very, very good as are the other two.
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Old 01-25-2013   #18
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Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Dams, clear-cuts, mining, they are all the result of supply and demand. I'm just as much a part of the demand as everyone else pecking away at a computer with lights on in a stick-built house. We , as consumer demanded a product/service. No business is going to build a dam without a market for the energy. Nor would the mine or drill oil for funzies. In a way we vote every time we buy something. No doubt it's a complex issue with no clear solution.
I like the idea and intention behind your project. It's obviously already sparked some thoughtful conversations and I think that's great. There have been a lot of good points and info in these threads.
Looking forward to seeing your projects outcome and future conversations.
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Old 01-26-2013   #19
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at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
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I don't buy the line of dams helping impoverished locals (or near locals) at all. I also don't agree with being an apologist for corporate decisions just because we use that product. We have a right and an ethical responsibility to stand up and say no to destructive development. And to call bs on the need for everyone in the world to come up to our standard. Hell, we're less happy than most in the world, and jet setting isn't a goal many people have. That individualist attitude is contrary to most of the world's tighter social bonds. We need to drop down in standard, use less, and accept the folly of what we've done not assist the rest of the world in repeating it. The US is not done being extracted and abused, it is coming home to roost with massive coal mining in Montana and exports to china along with tar sands, shale oil and the fraking that comes along. Once people are addicted to energy, of any kind, they're doomed. Look at the US? I guess doing so makes sense out of people here justifying destroying other lands. One heroin addict pushing another to be the same. Way to go Evan!
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 01-26-2013   #20
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 90
Heroin addict, corporate apologist?

We have boated together and I enjoyed your company. Was actually planning on hopping on your annual beartrap float next weekend, if it goes. Hope I am still welcome this year even if we disagree on your thoughts here. If not, let me know and I'll go another time with other folks.

I would appreciate it if you would point out the differences between myself (heroin addict) and yourself regarding energy consumption. Namely, what do believe you do in your life in MT that is so drastically different from what I do here in MT?

All parties that have responded have stated that if they support power projects, mining, logging, etc. at all, that they would like it to be done in the least intrusive/most sustainable way possible. No one here is advocating for corporate raping and pillaging.

I know from our conversations that you travel a lot to row on rivers throughout the West and get plenty of user days in. Thus you use fuel from the tar sands, fracking and traditional means of getting oil from the ground. You also likely use coal power/water power for many other day to day things. In short, you and I both utilize things dammed, mined and logged on a daily basis. Our beloved sport requires a use of the end products from these techniques that can only be defined as "excessive", in that rolliing down these rivers is not a necessity by any stretch of the imagination and only adds to the mining, drilling and damming that needs to be done in the future to continuallyprovide the standard of living we are all accustomed to.

You might be surprised to know that I am a vegetarian (mostly vegan, though on road trips I indulge in some meat and cheese, partly for the joy of it and partly not to be a pain in the groups ass) and spend a great deal of my hard-earned dollars on foods raised only organically and/or locally. We also recycle all products at our own expense and have the proper modern lightbulbs, etc. I lean far left on most social issues and environmental issues, but stop short of extreme positions that I find hypocritical to my way of life. I do use a lot of fossil fuels, mostly because my business requires it and also because I like having a larger vehicle capable of accessing the backcountry with a large crew that can tow a trailer.

I am not trying to advocate for bringing everyone up to first world standards... I believe most scientists would agree that it is actually impossible at this population level. But it should be noted that though many of us paddlers recognize the folly of which you speak to above, it is exceedingly rare to see someone hang up their first-world standards, quit boating and return to subsistence farming or hunting/gathering. FTR - socieities that did live like that, while more "happy"(or satisfied with their lifes' purpose, being perhaps more accurate) were a far cry from peaceful and enjoyed precious little leisure time, depending on their locale.

Looking forward to Beartrapping next weekend (we certainly can leave this topic on the Buzz...) No ill will intended in my response here. Just didn't want to be painted in what I perceived to be an unfair light.

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