Dams Or Environment– The Fight In Chile

Environmentalists in Chile are rallying to halt construction of massive new dams by an international conglomeration of American, Spanish, and Chilean corporations. Opponents fear the dams and accompanying transmission lines would be socially and environmentally devastating to pristine areas of southern Chile. Environmentalists believe Chile can attain its electricity needs through other means. Aquillino Olivares, a self described “campesino” who lives near the proposed site commented: “If we want to give Chile electricity, we have the northern desert where we can put up windmills and solar panels.” He noted people in his area use solar panels.

Chile, like many nations engaged in massive changes brought on by a rapidly developing economy require extensive energy sources. Ironically, as they economically expand there are coinciding environmental issues such as pollution of water sources and bringing changes to areas by constructing dams. China built the Three Gorges dam project and now has discovered it is causing devastating negative consequences to the local area include mud slides around the edges of the dam. It is estimated nearly 4 million people will have to be moved in the coming decade due to construction of these massive dams. Chilean environmentalists seek new ways of gaining access to energy sources without damage to existing physical conditions.