China’s Hydropower Rush Could Devastate Rivers

Tuesday, December 3, 2013
From December 2013 World Rivers ReviewChina’s rush to develop its hydropower is already leaving a trail of devastated fisheries and communities in its wake. According to Renewable Energy Focus, the country continued its domination of the global hydropower market, installing more than half of new capacity in 2012. China plans to generate 15% of its electricity from renewable energy as part of an effort to reduce pollution from coal-fired power plants. Unlike many other countries, China includes large destructive dams in its renewable energy targets. Roughly 100 dams are planned or under const

Swords to Ploughshares

Activists called for Power 4 People in front of the World Bank during the Bank’s fall meetings in October.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
From December 2013 World Rivers ReviewThe International Development Association (IDA) is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries. You could be forgiven for thinking that IDA projects primarily aim to reduce poverty, but this is not the case. In the energy sector, IDA favors a business-as-usual approach of large dams and fossil fuel projects. Such projects frequently impact host communities and the environment but don’t address the needs of the poor. International Rivers has launched a campaign to shift international energy finance from the World Bank to an institution that is bett

Beehive Collective Buzzes with Creative Juices

A section of the Mesomerica Resiste graphic by the Beehive Collective.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
From December 2013 World Rivers ReviewThe Beehive Design Collective specializes in telling complex stories through fantastically creative graphic story telling. The collective, which formed in Maine more than a decade ago, undertakes extensive research to develop artworks about issues such as globalization and environmental injustices. We asked one of the Bees to describe the process. We see ourselves as word-to-image translators. All of our graphics are collaboratively produced through first-hand research with the impacted communities’ stories we are telling, many hours of collective menta

Colombian Community Paints an Anti-Dam Message

Tuesday, December 3, 2013
From December 2013 World Rivers ReviewThe Colombian community of La Jagua, now threatened by the El Quimbo Dam, recently painted a series of murals depicting their opposition to the project and their hopes for a better future. We talked to a Colombian member of the group Entre Aguas, which helped coordinate the project. The mural was an initiative of young people and children from the community of La Jagua, who care about the future of their territory. More than 50 people aged 6-30 years participated in the project. The purpose of the mural was to create a space where young people impacted b

River Stories, Storied Rivers

Tuesday, December 3, 2013
From December 2013 World Rivers ReviewThough the names are still magic – Amazon, Congo, Mississippi, Niger, Platte, Volga, Tiber, Seine, Ganges, Mekong, Rhine, Colorado, Marne, Orinoco, Rio Grande – the rivers themselves have almost disappeared from consciousness in the modern world. Insofar as they exist in our imaginations, that existence is nostalgic. We have turned our memory of the Mississippi into a Mark Twain theme park at Disneyland. Our children don't know where their electricity comes from, they don't know where the water they drink comes from, and in many places on the earth the

March 14: A Day for Action for Rivers – and for Creativity

Day of Action in Tamui Village, Thailand, 2013. These kids are protesting the Ban Kum Dam, proposed for the Mekong River mainstream. The dam is located in Laos, but very close to the Thai border.
Monday, December 2, 2013
From December 2013 World Rivers Review Every year on March 14 for the past 15 years, people around the world have celebrated the International Day of Action for Rivers and Against Dams with creativity and fortitude. It’s a day to celebrate victories, take to the streets, and educate one another about the threats facing our rivers. Our former Day of Action coordinator, Elizabeth Brink, shares her memories about the day’s more creative moments. It takes a certain level of creativity to get out from behind your desk and take any sort of action on March 14. Every year I found myself amazed

Of Hearts and Minds, the Arts and Rivers

Monday, December 2, 2013
From December 2013 World Rivers ReviewWe who work to protect rivers from destructive enterprises are, fundamentally, agents of change. Those who perpetuate the status quo, in varying degrees all across the world, continue to treat rivers as conduits to receive the discharges of an industrial society, or as energy potential just waiting to be harnessed by dam walls and turbines. The threats are unabating, and so we work to articulate the value of rivers – in all their ecological, economic and cultural terms; to critique the rapacious system that degrades and devalues these lifelines of the

Malaysia's Indigenous Block Dam Construction

Indigenous people blockade the Baram Dam site in protest.
Friday, October 25, 2013
Communities in Sarawak state protest against hydro electric project that they say will submerge their homes and land.

World’s Biggest Dam Won’t Solve World’s Biggest Energy Gap

Thursday, October 3, 2013
Is World Bank Throwing Good Money After Bad? From September 2013 World Rivers ReviewThere is a sad irony in the fact that of one of Africa’s poorest nations, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), plans to build the world’s most expensive hydropower dam – the Grand Inga, proposed for the Congo River’s Inga Falls. While the dam’s proponents at the World Bank say the project will “transform” the African energy landscape, International Rivers and local partners believe the dam could fuel corruption and conflict, while leaving the majority of poor Congolese still without electricity

Thirsty Hydro Tops List of Water Use in US Energy Sector

Thursday, September 5, 2013
From September 2013 World Rivers ReviewA US Department of Energy (DOE) report released in July details widespread risks of climate change on the energy sector. Increasing temperatures and a decreasing snowpack will greatly contribute to a lower water supply (which is already becoming a fact of life). Hydropower plants are especially at risk, for three reasons: they rely on water as their primary source of energy; higher temperatures cause them to evaporate more water (thus reducing their ability to produce energy), and they are at greater risk of damage from flooding. With climate-induced cha


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