Amazonian Avatar

I’ve previously written about the disasters that dams can cause (see Water Damage), as witnessed in the southeast Queensland floods earlier this year. Dams disrupt hydrological cycles and can cause landslides, flooding and even earthquakes. The Three Gorges dam in China is a classic example, and even the Chinese government has now admitted that the dam’s environmental impacts are worse than they previously acknowledged.

But dams can have much wider-reaching effects than landslides and floods years later. The damage starts at the construction stage – entire towns and communities have had to be moved and rebuilt elsewhere to make way for dams. Once flooded, whole ecosystems are wiped out, animals suddenly lose their home ranges, and fertile land is written off the map for good. Continue reading