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Dams: economic assets or ecological liabilities?

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By illuminem briefings 🌎

· 2 min read


illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Earth.org or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Dams, once hailed as symbols of economic prosperity, are now scrutinized for their significant ecological impacts
Their construction disrupts river ecosystems, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, and poses risks of catastrophic failures, as evidenced by recent incidents in Canada, the US, and China

🔭 The context: While dams support agriculture, irrigation, and hydroelectric power, they also cause soil erosion, species extinction, and other environmental damages
They interfere with natural river flows, impacting aquatic life and riverine biodiversity, and are responsible for substantial methane emissions from trapped organic matter

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The environmental costs of dams are increasingly recognized as outweighing their economic benefits
They contribute to climate change and disrupt natural ecosystems, challenging the sustainability of such infrastructure in the face of global environmental crises

⏭️ What's next: There's a growing call for strategic planning in dam construction to balance human needs with environmental protection
Individual actions, such as conserving water and energy and voicing concerns about new dams, can contribute to a more sustainable approach to managing water resources

💬 One quote: "It would be a grave mistake to continue to finance those [dams] with the impression that they were part of the solution to the climate crisis” (Kate Horner, Executive Director of International Rivers)

📈 One stat: The world’s reservoirs lose about 170 cubic kilometers of water to evaporation annually, equivalent to 7% of all freshwater consumed by human activities


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