Environmental Impacts

Scientists Question Dam Building in the Amazon, Congo and Mekong

Dam building puts the rich fisheries of the Mekong at risk
Scientists have found that dam builders “often overestimate economic benefits and underestimate far-reaching effects on biodiversity and critically important fisheries.” Read our review!

A Health Check-up for Our Environment - Ignored at Our Own Risk

Chinese river dolphins
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is a much-needed health check up for our environment. It tells us what is happening to the Chinese river dolphin and other building blocks of life on Earth. We can't survive without the rich biodiversity on our planet, and are well-advised to heed the warning signs of the environmental health check-up.

Nam Theun 2 Affected People Left In the Dark

Families downstream of the Nam Theun 2 Dam face an uncertain future with the prospect of greater water level fluctuations
This week, the Government of Laos is convening a Round Table Meeting on Development, a high level dialogue attended by 37 international donor organizations. These development partners and the Lao Government repeatedly showcase the outputs of the Nam Theun 2 hydropower project in central Laos as a 'world class' model for ‘best practices’ in social upliftment and environmental protection. However, many unanswered questions about the true impacts of the project on affected communities continue to be avoided. With news reports emerging that the Nam Theun 2 Power Company is considering building

Why the World Bank Continues to Fund Environmental Destruction

The World Bank's Chad-Cameroon pipeline under construction
In spite of numerous reforms, the World Bank continues to support environmental destruction through its projects. A new book explores why the world's most powerful development financier does not seem to be able to learn from its mistakes.

Field Visit Report on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

Blue Nile, site of Grand Renaissance Dam
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Blue Nile, site of Grand Renaissance Dam The Grand Renaissance Dam is the largest engineering project ever attempted in Ethiopia. The project was launched in April 2011, and construction has begun at the remote, rugged site about 40 km from the border with Sudan. The project has been shrouded in high secrecy. Nearly two years after its launch, the government has yet to produce an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for the project, and thus very little is known about its impacts. One major concern is the project’s potential to alter the flow of the Nile and affect neighboring countri

International Rivers letter on Teesta IV to Indian government advisory body

In a letter to the Forest Advisory Committee of India's Ministry of Environment and Forests, International Rivers argues that "permitting Teesta-IV is not advisable for geological, seismological, ecological, socio-cultural and environmental reasons."

How Chinese Loans Could Fuel Regional Conflict in East Africa

China has made great efforts to support poverty reduction in Africa, and likes to present itself as a friend of the African people. A new report warns that its loans for the Gibe III Dam and irrigation projects on the Omo River now threaten to pull China into an explosive regional conflict between well-armed groups in Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Gibe III's Impacts on Lake Turkana

Fishing at Lake Turkana
Thursday, January 10, 2013
East Africa's “Aral Sea” in the Making?“If Ethiopia completes the Gibe III Dam and continues to press ahead with large-scale irrigation developments, the result will be a cascade of hydrological, ecological and socio-economic impacts that will generate a region-wide crisis for indigenous livelihoods and biodiversity and thoroughly destabilize the Ethiopia-Kenyan borderlands around Lake Turkana. The long-term effect could parallel what has happened to Central Asia’s Aral Sea, one of the planet’s worst environmental disasters.” So begins a paper that describes how hydrological change

Malaysia’s Murum Dam Sets Poor Precedents for Best Practice

A view of the Murum River, where the Murum Dam is located
A lack of transparency and participation surrounds the issues of resettlement and environmental impacts of the Murum Dam.

Climate Change, Rivers and Dams: A Video Exploration

Lake Mead July 2008
This toolkit includes a lesson plan that features a 20-minute video called "Wrong Climate for Damming Rivers, which uses Google Earth to visualize what might happen to the world's major rivers when climate change and the current dam-building boom collide. Students will be encouraged to think critically about the role of dam-building in a changing global environment from a systems-level perspective, at times taking on the role of different stakeholders to understand the complexity of the problem. This toolkit includes the video, extension ideas, and links to additional resources.


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