A river’s rightful work supports everyone’s survival by providing a nutrient channel between land and sea.
Blocking rivers severs community, manufacturing hunger and thirst. About 58,000* large dams now provide services for some while starving land and sea worldwide.
Most of the world’s large dams divert water for irrigation. Some for electricity. Some both. The United States harbors approximately 9,000 large dams, trailing only China's claim to nearly half the worldwide total in large dams. Four of the United States dams are located on the lower Snake River**.
Humans have created a great deal of unnecessary work for themselves by restricting and denying rivers’ rightful flow. Just as with building, removing dams disrupts lives as land and community shift. Whatever the temporary disruption that occurs in the removal of dams, the immediate socioeconomic consequence pales to that endured in the longevity of concrete barriers.
There exist collectively beneficent means toward the services these dams provide. And, energy efficiency - reducing overall energy consumption, goes further and faster toward the goal of reversing global warming than does shifting to 'alternative' energy sources.*** Many existing large dams can and should be removed.
- Dams should be last resort for managing water and generating electricity.
- Build no more dams on river mainstems, which ensure vital freshwater communities.
- Heed indigenous voices in the protection of rivers and water management.
*dam numbers from ICOLD / World Dam Registry General Synthesis
***The solutions for reversing global warming are already in play and require scaling up in an overall process of slowing down human activity and production in response to shifting consumption patterns of an increasingly compassionate marketplace. Please see Vow 2 Act
****recommendations from International Rivers / The State of the World's Rivers
Assessing the Condition of America's Dams and Rivers
Issues Guides & Resources - Lower Snake River / Earthjustice
Save Our Wild Salmon for the latest news on the lower Snake River dams and more.
'Should the Snake River Dams Be Removed?' / Sound Policy Ep. 5 at Washington Policy Center
Washington's Big Dam Climate Nightmare / Seattle Weekly
Amazon Headwaters Protected! / International Rivers
'downfall of big dams has started and it's beautiful' / Fusion
Reservoirs Provide Tap Water Yet Significantly Contribute to Climate Change / KQED
photos courtesy Save Our Wild Salmon