Be Happy, Feel Beautiful
The government of Myanmar (Burma) suspended the construction of the Myitsone dam project on Friday. This dam would flood an area four times the size of Manhattan, according to The New York Times. The successful suspension of the project is due to public outcry and the leadership of Nobel Peace honoree Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The government has stated that it will find other clean means of electricity production.
The previous day, Brazil courts ruled in favor of suspending the construction of a giant dam in the Amazon Jungle. The Brazilian government is in strong favor of the project; upon completion it would be the third largest hydroelectric energy producer. The judge, however, ruled the suspension of construction due to the detrimental consequences on fishing for the surrounding indigenous communities. The dam was suspended in February by another judge, but was later overturned.
Chile and Argentina have also recently headlined for the protests against building a hydroelectric dam in the Patagonia region of South America, one of the most beautiful and untouched places left on the planet.
This is not an issue that is happening in far away lands; it concerns us in the United States as well. In Washington State, the “largest dam removal ever in the United States” commenced only a handful of days ago as two hydroelectric dams will be taken apart and carried away to bring the Elwha River back to its natural state. The removal project is expected to end in 2014, but the return of the river’s once abundant population of salmon will take much longer.
In an effort to produce clean energy, alternative energy production projects are harming Mother Earth in different ways. Hydroelectric dams are constructed as an alternative means of producing electricity at the cost of the environment.
Governments often choose this form of energy production as an inexpensive and clean way to producing power. There’s no need for fuel, the cost of fossil fuels is eliminated and there’s no pollution created by the dam. As far as benefitting the less fortunate, they can also increase the accessibility of electricity to rural and isolated populations.
Why are people around the world firmly standing against the construction of these dams?
Hydroelectric power production requires the flooding of valleys and surrounding lands. The ecological damage displaces thousands of people, forcing them to relocate far from their cherished ancestral lands.
It’s an unfair situation: by trying to eliminate pollution and reduce our carbon footprint, we continue harming the Earth and its inhabitants. It’s unfair that we must choose between evils.
Nevertheless, there’s a consequence for each action we take. It comes down to our choices, choices that directly affect Mother Nature. Remember, belles, there’s no future without her.