Indigenous Communities Resist Hydroelectric Dam Projects in Guatemala

by Sara R. Roschdi
The government of Guatemala has approved hydro electric dams to be built on indigenous territories.  Fitzpatrick-Behrens reports in the article, “Electrifying Guatemala: Clean Energy and Development” that these hydroelectric dam projects are expected to produce 181 megawatts of energy for the country [https://nacla.org/news/electrifying-guatemala-clean-energy-and-development]. For indigenous communities like the Ixcán community, these dams mean the pollution of their waters and the corporatization of their sacred lands. Telesur reports that on January 17th, two Indigenous Guatemalan activist, were assassinated by the state as they engaged in a peaceful protest against the building of a hydroelectric dam in San Mateo Ixatan, Guatemala [http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Guatemalan-Activist-Killed-Protesting-Hydroelectric-Project-20170118-0013.html].   Continue reading

How Many More Dams in the Amazon?

by Emil Morhardt

There are a great many hydroelectric dams already operating in Brazil, supplying 80% of Brazil’s electricity—most of them in the Amazon Basin. There could be many more. The existing dams produce 80 million kilowatts annually, and the proposed dams in the Amazon Basin could double that. A just-released study maps these dams, and its Brazilian authors both warn of the damage their construction and operation could do societally and environmentally, and optimistically hope for “ An integrated ecological and environmental management with a holistic and systemic approach considering the entire spectrum of solutions, such as technology, socio-environmental conditions, and economy…” to avoid that damage. For sure, this ought to be a goal, and they note that just such studies are taking place on the Tocantins River where a 200 km stretch is proposed to remain free of dams. They note other mitigations taking place in other hydroelectric systems under development, including feasibility studies in the Tapajós River which suggest keeping Continue reading