Protecting the Rights of People and the Rivers
With support from the Baum Foundation, The Patagonian Foundation organized International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) to conduct a Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition to expose mass scale dams that are threatening to have long lasting impacts on wildlife and communities of Patagonia 2010.
The work of photographers Jeff Foott, Jack Dakinga, Daniel Beltrá, Bridget Besaw and Filmmaker Edgar Boyles were featured in an exhibition on April 26, 2010, in Rome Italy at the setting of an Enel company shareholder meeting to show the public what will be lost in the Chilean Patagonia, Aisen region. Conglomerates in Italy and Chile are poised to dam, mine, and log this pristine region beginning in 2012.
Wildlife photographers and filmmakers, stunned by the potential loss of this region went to Patagonia to photo document the area. The dam project includes laying down the largest ever constructed and proposed transmission lines directly through the middle of Chile, bisecting it largest stands of untouched native forests. Enel, HidroAysén and Endesa of Chile have steadily been working toward obtaining approval from the Chilean Government to build five dams on the glacier fed Baker and Pascua.
The photographers went to central Patagonia as volunteers to record wildlife, landscape and the communities that will be directly impacted in this pristine and remote region. They traveled for three weeks, over difficult terrain and inclement weather to capture one of the last remaining pristine natural areas in the world. iLCP Photographer Daniel Beltrá says, “Patagonia is one of the last intact wildernesses. I’ve seen this process happening too many times in my work. Big companies arrive with their never fulfilled El Dorado promises. We are scarring the earth for profit. I hope our work in Patagonia will help shine a light on this unsustainable project to stop it.”
Scott Perryman of the Patagonia Foundation said, “Our hope is that these rivers will be designated as protected wilderness held in perpetuity for future generations. The time for large-scale dam projects is past and Chile is in a unique position to engage in the full potential of alternative energy.
The intention of the RAVE project is to educate stakeholders involved in dam projects including business leaders, policymakers, and governments on the importance of preserving these critical environmental resources and to motivate them to consider alternatives to building the dams and proposed transmission lines.
Photographer Jack Dykinga said, “I feel privileged to be in a place so wild and unspoiled. My home is in Arizona where an unthinking public approved a series of dams on the Colorado River. One of the wonders of the world, Glen Canyon, was buried under hundreds of feet of water. Even the most conservative Senator, Barry Goldwater later said, “that if he could undo any decision in his life he would vote against the creation of Glen Canyon dam.”
Learn more about the Patagonian Foundation here.