LOS ANGELES (July 10, 2007) -- In a new video documenting his recent trip to Patagonia with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Chilean rock star Beto Cuevas, former lead singer of the multi-platinum band La Ley, calls attention to the massive damage threatening the region. The trip was part of the on-going international campaign to stop multinational conglomerates from building major dams in the region’s main rivers and to convince Chile to adopt measures leading to energy efficiency and renewable energy production.
“This is such a beautiful country. How could they ever think of flooding it with all those dams,” said Cuevas. “This is a very irresponsible way of dealing with the natural world and a short-sighted approach to progress and development.”
The Spanish conglomerate Endesa and the Chilean company Colbun plan to build four giant hydroelectric plants in the two main Patagonian rivers, the Baker and the Pascua, flooding a vast area. In addition, the longest transmission line in the world, to be built by the Canadian company Brookfield, will be needed to take the electricity all the way to the mining regions of northern Chile, cutting a swath across more than 1,200 miles of national parks and pristine forests.
“Our main concern is with the rush to build these dams without first considering any of the available alternatives,” said Jacob Scherr, director of NRDC’s International Program. “Enormous gains can be achieved with a more efficient use of the existing energy, as well as with the development of renewable sources.”
The damage and destruction that will be caused by the dams and the transmission line will severely affect local rural communities and their economies, and many grassroots groups have been organized to fight it. Besides defending their culture and traditions, these groups also call for sustainable development initiatives that would help preserve their environment and way of life.
For many years, NRDC has been working with Chilean environmental groups defending the adoption of a sound and sustainable energy policy, which would allow the country to abandon old development models, based on the depletion of natural resources, and put Chile among the nations that harmonize their economic progress with the preservation of their environmental heritage.
NRDC in Chile are Ecosistemas, Coalición Ciudadana por Aysén Reserva de Vida
Agrupación Defensores del Espíritu de la Patagonia.
The trip and video by Beto Cuevas mark NRDC’s first bi-lingual international outreach campaign, after many years of successful environmental activism in English. Last year NRDC unveiled its Spanish-language website, La Onda Verde