Osocio NL

The dirty face of “clean” energy

Posted by Tom Megginson | 25-02-2011 20:36 | Category: Environment

Hydroelectric energy may be lauded as “clean” power generation that doesn’t affect air quality or produce greenhouse gasses, but the effects on the ground can be devastating.

In my own country, Canada, 59% of the electricity on the grid comes from dammed rivers. However, these projects have also led to decimation of native salmon in New Brunswick’s mighty St. John River (as well as losses of sturgeon and other species elsewhere), and incursions into aboriginal lands in Quebec. The massive 3 Gorges Dam in China displaced upwards of 4 million people from their own ancestral lands. In Egypt and Turkey, new dams are destroying the archeological and cultural sites of thousands of years of human civilization.

And in Chile? Now the unique natural ecosystem and life of Patagonia is being threatened:


I realize that the world is hungry for energy. But the damage we have done with dams to rights, cultures, and environments is massive and scary. Next time you waste energy, it is worth reminding yourself that it has a wide variety of devastating costs.

Two more executions after the break.



Creative Director: Daslav Maslov
Editors: Andres Tampassi, Monica Garcia
Art Director: Daslav Maslov
Illustration / Photography: Astro LC

Fundacion Rio Baker
Ella Entro Por Mi Ventana, Chile
Ads of The World


Comments about The dirty face of

They mispelled “extinction”. Is it because they don’t believe in their message?

Posted by Mihai | 26-02-2011 11:02

Comments about The dirty face of

That’s hardly fair, Mihai. The ad has been translated for international viewing. I agree that agencies really should do a better job of this, but you can hardly blame the client. They are rarely involved in this aspect.

Posted by Tom Megginson | 26-02-2011 15:20

Comments about The dirty face of

Oh, and they also used the wrong “its”.

Posted by Tom Megginson | 26-02-2011 15:20

Comments about The dirty face of

Great post.

I always found it incredibly iconic and hypocritical that green movement,  AGW believers and armchair environmentalists fully advocated electricity like it was a magic planet cleaner with no consequences of use.  Bottom line is all energy use causes an impact SOMEWHERE, whether its from tail pipe emissions, nuclear plant, thousands or wind farms, coal plants or dammed rivers. 

There is no real easy solution around it. Having said that reduction is the key. However with a growing populations everywhere its unlikely that projects like this are going to stop. In Ottawa Valley there are dozens of Hydro damns and a nuclear power plant at Chalk River, we just did it 30 years ago.  Humans will always desire consumption and comfort over the environment.  Even the most vocal proponents against development like Gore and Suzuki use ALOT of energy for themselves.  Chile will be no different.  The most they can hope for is that they are as environmentally sensitive as possible - if there is such a thing.

Ottawa Valley and Quebec is still beautiful. Maybe that is good enough?

Again good post, cheers

Posted by JP | 15-11-2012 23:14

My comment


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