Because Price Matters: Most Affordable CBD Oils of 2021
If you've been wanting to try CBD oil but have been concerned about the price, know that not only can you purchase affordable CBD oil, but you also can purchase high quality CBD oil at those affordable prices.
It's been proven time and again that CBD is rapidly growing in popularity among people who want to try an alternative treatment to boost their general health or help treat their difficult health issues. Sadly, a great number of people hold off on purchasing CBD oil because of high prices that could potentially put a strain on an already stretched budget.
Our guide to the most affordable CBD oils will help you purchase the best quality products from the most reputable and affordable brands. Moreover, you will learn how and why we chose our top three brands as well as how CBD oil can best benefit your life.
But first, take a moment to learn about how we came up with our guidelines for selecting our top three brands. Not only will this criteria work great in helping you in your own research, it will also give you a jumping off point for knowing which brands to purchase from first.
The Guidelines For Our List
Today, there are countless brands that sell CBD products. Therefore, if you've never purchased CBD online before, there's a good chance that you might feel overwhelmed and frustrated with both trying to find the best brand as well as the best product. And if you're like most people, you will want to take some time to look into each brand that you're interested in. However, doing this might cause some undue stress and confusion as to where to start.
In researching brands, you'll want to look closely at the brand's reputation, the effectiveness of the products, the brand's ability to be transparent, and whether it used a third-party lab to frequently test all of its products, among other things. The good news is we've done most of the hard work. We've taken the time and put in the research so that you don't have a great path to begin your journey with CBD on.
The top three brands that we've selected based on our strict guidelines are the cleanest, most effective, potent, and most reputable and transparent brands out on the market today.
In our search to find the most affordable CBD oil, we looked closely at:
- How long the brand has been operating for
- The ingredients in the CBD oil
- Verified customer reviews
- If a third-party laboratory was used to regularly test all products
- Did the brand make those lab results easy for customers to find
- Where the hemp was sourced from
- Published articles by respected CBD journalists and niche experts
- The overall cleanness, potency, and purity of the oils
- The brand's reputation
- Product prices
In looking at all of these guidelines, we weren't surprised when our list began to get out of control. Therefore, we reset our focus and whittled our list down even further until we were left with our top picks for the most affordable CBD oils that you will find down below.
Top 3 Most Affordable CBD Oils
FAB CBD has been in the business of creating top-shelf, best CBD oils since 2017. The FAB CBD team has previous experience working in the health and wellness industries. Together, the team knows the very best ways to create clean, affordable, effective, high-quality oils without cutting any corners or skipping any steps along the way. FAB CBD is involved in the complete creation process from seed to sale, the brand also believes in transparency. As such FAB CBD uses an independent third-party laboratory to routinely test all of its products.
In order to confirm that its oils are potent and clean, FAB CBD uses innovation, science, and strict methods to bring its customers products that are pesticide-free, herbicide-free, chemical-free and free from other harmful substances. FAB CBD sources all of its organic hemp from Colorado.
Along with having top-quality products at affordable prices, FAB CBD frequently offers discounts through special sales throughout the year. Many customers have taken advantage of FAB CBD's sales by purchasing lots of their favorite products at reduced prices through either a special coupon code or through a set sale price.
FAB CBD is extremely transparent with its customers, has an affordable line of top-notch products, and runs a top-rated customer service department because the team at FAB CBD understands that happy, satisfied customers are an important key to the survival of the brand. Along with a stellar product line that continues to grow and evolve, FAB CBD offers a highly popular line of CBD oils in strengths of 300mg, 600mg, 1200mg, and 2400mg in mint, citrus, berry, vanilla, and natural flavors. In order to ensure that every product is high-quality, safe, and not laden with dangerous chemicals, uses ProVerde Labs to regularly test all of its products. Customers can then easily find those test results on the FAB CBD's website.
FAB Full Spectrum CBD Oils
- Where The Hemp Was Sourced From — All of FAB CBD's organic hemp from Colorado. All of the hemp is pesticide-free, herbicide-free, and devoid of harmful chemicals. FAB CBD uses the extremely clean Co2 extraction process to acquire its hemp extracts.
- Brand Reputation — FAB CBD has a strong reputation for being a solid brand. All of FAB CBD's products are extremely affordable, clean, potent, and effective. A host of verified customer reviews solidify our conclusions and also listed on the lists best CBD oil for pain and best CBD gummies.
- Reasonable Product Pricing — Even with all of the hard work, top quality ingredients, and cutting-edge technology that goes into the creation of its products, FAB CBD's full-spectrum oils are still reasonably priced. Customers are sure to get both an affordable and top-quality full-spectrum product when they purchase any one of FAB CBD's high-quality offerings. Moreover, FAB CBD regularly has special sales with coupon codes or established sale prices.
- Effectiveness — FAB CBD's products are both potent and effective. The team at FAB CBD works extremely hard to ensure that.
- Our Final Thoughts — Not only are FAB CBD's products affordable, but the brand is also our number one pick because its products are extremely clean, potent, and effective. The FAB CBD team is involved in every step of the creation process. The brand is also extremely transparent and also makes the results of its third-party lab tests easy for customers to find on its website.
Medterra is a relatively new brand on the market today. The founders of Medterra are on a mission to innovate in the field of CBD products. The brand is involved in the creation process from seed to sale. All of its industrial hemp is cultivated according to the guidelines of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. Every product that Medterra creates is tested by a third-party laboratory. All reports can be found on the brand's website.
Medterra is in a partnership with the Hemp Pilot Research Program. Because of this, the brand can bring high quality products to all of its customers. According to the brand's website, the Medterra team has focused their lives to industrial farming methodologies, food-grade compound extraction, vegetable genetics, and quality control.
Medterra Broad Spectrum CBD Oils
Medterra creates a line of THC-free broad spectrum oils. The brand's broad spectrum tinctures utilize the full-plant hemp extract without any THC. The broad spectrum tinctures contain CBD along with other compounds such as CBG, CBN, CBC, CBDV, and natural terpenes. The brand also crafts a line of CBD oils in strengths of 500mg, 1,000mg, and 3,000mg.
- Where The Hemp Was Sourced From — As stated earlier, all of Medterra's organic hemp hails from Kentucky. The brand is also in a partnership with the Hemp Pilot Research Program in that state.
- Brand Reputation — Medterra is well-known for making organic, clean, affordable products that customers enjoy.
- Product Pricing — The brand's products appear to be extremely affordable.
- Effectiveness — Even though broad spectrum products are beneficial, it's been documented that more benefits can be obtained from full-spectrum CBD products. So, while Medterra's products are effective in their own way, the products might not be as effective as the full-spectrum products offered by other brands.
- Our Final Thoughts — Medterra is a solid brand that crafts quality CBD oils at affordable prices. The team at Medterra are involved in the creation process from seed to sale and do their best to ensure that customers know exactly what it is they are putting into their body. The brand uses an independent lab to test its products. All lab test results can be found on Medterra's website. While there are benefits to broad spectrum oils, it's been documented that there are more benefits with full-spectrum oils. To that end, Medterra only offers broad spectrum oil options.
Naternal's mission is to simply bring customers high-quality CBD-based hemp products while informing the world about hemp's benefits. The brand, based in North Carolina, dedicates itself to providing customers with the best quality and most affordable CBD hemp products on the market.
Naternal's line of CBD products includes oils, creams, and more. The brand's CBD-rich hemp oil is GMO-free and is devoid of pesticides, solvents, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers. Naternal uses a third-party lab to frequently test every product.
Naternal Full Spectrum Hemp Extracts
Naternal oils are affordable and are also of high quality. The brand strives to create potent, clean, affordable oils.
- Where The Hemp Was Sourced From — Naternal organic hemp is grown in North Carolina. It is free from pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers.
- Brand Reputation — Naternals is known for making the most affordable, high quality CBD products.
- Product Pricing — Naternal is one of the most affordable, strong CBD oil brands available online.
- Effectiveness — According to verified customer reviews, Naternal does craft an effective line of full-spectrum oils.
- Our Final Thoughts — Naternal works hard to craft clean, potent, and affordable full-spectrum oils in a selection of flavors and strengths. The brand uses an independent lab to test all of its products. Customers can easily find those results on the brand's website.
What Are Affordable CBD Oils?
With all the CBD brands that are out on the market today, it's guaranteed that the prices of oils will vary between them all. Most people are mistakenly under the assumption that affordable oils are inferior oils. This simply is not true. It is possible to purchase affordable CBD oils that are also of superior quality and that are clean, organic, potent, and effective.
There are certain criteria that help to decide both the quality as well as the price of CBD oils. Those are potency, extraction method, hemp source, and independent third-party lab testing.
Potency — How much CBD is in a tincture will determine how strong it is. The more CBD there is per milliliter in a product, the more potent the tincture will be. The strength and potency of the product you choose should be determined by what you are trying to accomplish with it. For example, if you have extreme pain from a chronic health condition, you will want a stronger, more potent CBD oil. Conversely, if you're only wanting to support your general health, then you will want to go with a lower strength.
Extraction Method — There are a few methods in which CBD is extracted out of the hemp plant. Those methods include steam distillation, ethanol (solvent) extraction, Co2 extraction, and hydrocarbon extraction. Out of all of these methods, Co2 extraction is the cleanest and most effective because it pulls out higher levels of CBD from the hemp plant. Lastly, of all the methods mentioned, hydrocarbon extraction is the least preferred because it deposits dangerous toxins in the final product.
Hemp Sources — CBD comes from the hemp and marijuana plants. The overall quality of the hemp will have a large role in determining how much a product costs. Organic hemp that is clean and pesticide-free, herbicide-free, and chemical-free produces the highest quality CBD oils. CBD brands that use organic hemp will have products that are slightly more expensive than brands that use hemp that is not carefully crafted to be of the best quality.
Independent Third-Party Lab Testing — Before you purchase any type of CBD product, you should look on the brand's website to see if you can find independent third-party lab test reports. Even though you are purchasing affordable CBD, you should still know what you are putting into your body. The lab tests will confirm the safety and potency of the products you are purchasing.
Is It Safe To Purchase Affordable CBD Oils?
Even though it's quite simple to shop online and purchase CBD oil, you should consider the safety, potency, and effectiveness of the oil before spending money on any products. One way to find out more about the products you wish to purchase is read through independent lab reports. These reports offer a host of valuable information about the product that will help you make an informed decision before buying. Only in taking the time to do the proper research will you know if it is safe to purchase an affordable oil from any particular brand.
The extraction process that the brand uses is also key to oil safety. Full-spectrum CBD products contain beneficial cannabinoid compounds. Two of the main compounds are cannabidiol, or CBD, and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. While CBD will not cause any feelings of euphoria, THC will. All full-spectrum CBD oils must legally contain less than 0.3% THC. Therefore, full-spectrum oils do not have any euphoric side effects. There are many ways to extract CBD from hemp and marijuana plants. It's important to know how the oil was extracted in order to ensure that you do not purchase a CBD oil that is laden with toxins.
So while it might be tempting to purchase cheap CBD oils, it's better to buy affordable oils from reputable brands instead of cheap oils from brands that potentially cut corners and use inferior ingredients as well as less preferred extraction methods that leave toxins in the extracts.
Guidelines For Buying Affordable CBD Oils
Before you purchase affordable CBD oils, there are a few guidelines that you should follow in order to ensure that you are getting a clean, potent, top-notch product. Some of those guidelines are as follows:
- Only purchase CBD oils from a respected brand. If you find a brand that piques your interest, spend some time researching the brand. Learn how the brand started, who founded it, what the brand's mission is, how the products are made, whether an independent lab was used to test products, whether the lab reports are easy for customers to find, and if the brand has a solid customer service department, among other things.
- Look to the internet as a resource to help you find a reputable brand with high-quality, affordable products. Any reputable brand will have a trustworthy e-commerce system and will also ship your purchase directly to you. A brand's website is a wonderful place to read about CBD, learn more about the company, read up on its oils, and possibly find out how much of the brand's oil you can take to start.
CBD, The Endocannabinoid System, And The Entourage Effect
The Entourage Effect
Full-spectrum CBD oils contain a host of beneficial compounds, phytonutrients, and terpenes. Two of the main cannabinoid compounds are cannabidiol, or CBD, and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. When these compounds combine with each other, they produce an entourage effect. In the entourage effect, the compounds bring down each other's negative side effects while elevating each other's positive side effects. For example, sometimes too much THC causes nausea. Since it's legally required to have less than 0.3% THC in all full-spectrum products, the cannabidiol in the tincture is able to effectively work with the THC to decrease or eliminate that side effect. Therefore, you will be able to have effective pain relief without any worry about getting nauseous.
The Endocannabinoid System
Every human has an endocannabinoid system that works to regulate bodily functions and sensations. In that endocannabinoid system are two receptors, CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptors that are found throughout the body work to regulate pain, emotion, movement, thinking, appetite, memories, and other functions. The CB2 receptors that are located within the immune system work to regulate inflammation and pain. When a full-spectrum oil enters into the body, THC will latch onto the CB1 receptors while CBD will attach itself to both the CB1 and CB2 receptors to help the body create its own endocannabinoids.
Benefits, Dosing, And Safety
Multiple research studies have effectively proven that CBD can help with issues such as:
When it comes to figuring out the best dose to take, it's important to understand that there is not one set dose that will work the best for everyone. Everybody is different, therefore everyone's body responds differently to CBD.
Lower strength oils such as 300mg and 500mg work well for general health and minor issues. However, higher strengths such as 1200mg and 2400mg work best for more difficult health issues and more intense symptoms.
When you're ready to take your first dose, always remember to start low and go slow. The best guidelines to follow are to begin with 5ml, or half a dropper full once a day for one week. After a week has elapsed, do a full-body check-in to see how you're feeling. If you aren't achieving your desired effect, then bump up the dosage to 5ml, or half a dropper full twice a day for one week. This comes to 10mg a day. After one week, increase again if needed. Remember, your body needs time to adjust to both the CBD as well as the dosage.
When compared to prescription medications, CBD comes with very few side effects. Moreover, those side effects are extremely mild. If you have concerns about how CBD will interact with your medications or other holistic supplements, then please call your doctor, specialist, or pharmacist.
Some common side effects of CBD are:
- Changes in Appetite
- Mild nausea
If you're taking prescription medication, then you might be familiar with the Grapefruit Rule. Put simply, the rule states that some medications cannot be taken with grapefruit or other citrus fruits and juices. CBD functions in very much the same way. Some medications, when combined with grapefruit, other citrus fruits, or CBD will cause a dramatic change in the way that your body metabolizes medications. Medication will either be metabolized too slowly, where you will not receive enough of the medication into your system, or too quickly, where you will receive too much medication into your system. Too much medication in your system is dangerous and has the potential to cause extreme side effects or even an overdose. Not enough medication in your system will cause health conditions to not be treated effectively.
If you're not able to take CBD oil, there are other options. Keep in mind that CBD salves, lotions, and other topical creams are another great alternative. However, in thinking about all of the dangerous side effects that stem from long-term use of prescription medication, CBD is a wonderful alternative treatment overall. As stated before, numerous studies confirm CBD's effectiveness in helping to treat anxiety, depression, chronic pain, nerve issues, insomnia, and many other health/medical conditions.
Our Final Thoughts On Our Most Affordable CBD Oils List
There is a huge difference between purchasing an affordable CBD oil and purchasing a cheap CBD oil. While cheap CBD oils may feel better to your wallet, there's no guarantee that they will be clean, safe, or effective. You can still purchase high-quality, affordable, top-shelf oils from reputable brands.
Before you purchase any products, remember to take some time to do your research. If you find a brand that you're interested in, dig deeply on the brand's website for its backstory, independent third-party lab test results, and verified customer reviews. Only then will you know if you will be putting the best, purest, most effective oil into your body.
Growing, harvesting, and extraction methods make a huge difference as well. If an oil is not extracted from hemp that's organic, pesticide free, chemical-free, and herbicide-free, then you run the risk of putting dangerous chemicals into your body. Likewise, if an oil is not made with the clean, industry-preferred Co2 extraction process, then chances are, there might be chemicals lingering around inside the final product.
Always read through independent third-party lab tests for any and every product that you're interested in. Only then will you know how safe, potent, and clean the product is. Furthermore, the brand you are interested in should make it easy for customers to find those lab results on its website. A huge red flag should raise for you if you find a brand that does not use an independent laboratory to frequently test every product. Likewise, if you have a difficult time locating the lab results, that might be another issue to consider.
Also, as with any business, word of mouth is pure gold. Reading through verified customer reviews will allow you to get a feel for the brand, its customer services, and overall opinions on the brand's products.
Brand transparency is also key. A reputable brand will not try to hide anything from you and will post a wealth of information on its website for anyone and everyone to read. The simple act of reading through a brand's website should give you most all of the information you need to know so that you can make a well-informed decision about purchasing products from them.
Remember, not all brands are created equal. Just because a product is cheap, does not mean that it is of high quality. Affordable is the best option over cheap every time. If you're feeling overwhelmed and confused as to where to begin your research for the most affordable CBD oils, then our article is a great place to start. As previously stated, FAB CBD is our top pick for affordable CBD oils because not only is the brand transparent, it's products are also top-shelf, clean, potent, and extremely affordable. In fact, FAB CBD regularly has sales offering its customers a specified percentage of its products. All of FAB's products are routinely tested by ProVerde Lab, an independent third-party laboratory. All lab results are then posted on the brand's website where customers can easily access them..
Lastly, if you are still on the fence about purchasing an affordable CBD oil, don't ever hesitate to call your doctor, specialist, or pharmacist to discuss your questions and concerns. CBD oil has the potential to greatly boost up your holistic supplement regimen. The only thing left to do is to check out our top three brands to get started on your CBD oil journey.
By Deborah Moore, Michael Simon and Darryl Knudsen
There's some good news amidst the grim global pandemic: At long last, the world's largest dam removal is finally happening.
A young activist for a free-flowing Salween River. A team of campaigners and lawyers from EarthRights International joined Indigenous Karen communities on the Salween in 2018 to celebrate the International Day of Actions for Rivers on March 14. This year, EarthRights joined communities living in the Eu-Wae-Tta internally displaced persons camp for a celebration in solidarity with those impacted by dam projects on the Salween River. EarthRights International<p>The dam removal project is a sign of the decline of the hydropower industry, whose fortunes have fallen as the <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46098118" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">troubling</a> cost-benefit ratio of dams has become clear over the years. The rise of more cost-effective and sustainable energy sources (including wind and solar) has hastened this shift. This is exactly the type of progress envisioned by the <a href="https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/17023836/dams-and-development-a-new-framework-for-decision" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">World Commission on Dams</a> (WCD), a global multi-stakeholder body that was established by the World Bank and International Union for Conservation of Nature in 1998 to investigate the effectiveness and performance of large dams around the world. The WCD released a damning landmark <a href="https://www.un.org/press/en/2000/20001117.dam.pressconferencepm.doc.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">report</a> in November 2000 on the enormous financial, environmental and human costs and the dismal performance of large dams. The commission spent <a href="https://www.un.org/press/en/2000/20001117.dam.pressconferencepm.doc.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">two years</a> analyzing the outcome of the trillions of dollars invested in dams, reviewing dozens of case studies and testimonies from over a thousand communities and individuals, before producing the report.</p><p>But despite this progress, we cannot take hydropower's decline as inevitable. As governments around the world plan for a post-pandemic recovery, hydropower companies sense an opportunity. The industry is eager to recast itself as climate-friendly (<a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/how-green-is-hydropower-1919539525.html" target="_self">it's not</a>) and <a href="https://www.hydropower.org/covid-19" target="_blank">secure</a> precious stimulus funds to revive its dying industry — at the expense of people, the environment and a truly just, green recovery.</p>
Hydropower’s Troubling Record<p>The world's largest hydropower dam removal project on the Klamath River is a significant win for tribal communities. But while the Yurok and Karuk tribes <a href="https://www.karuk.us/images/docs/press/bring_salmon_home.php" target="_blank">suffered</a> terribly from the decline of the Klamath's fisheries, they were by no means alone in that experience. The environmental catastrophe that occurred along the Klamath River has been replicated all over the world since the global boom in hydropower construction <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/hydropower" target="_blank">began</a> early in the 20th century.</p><p>The rush to dam rivers has had huge consequences. After decades of rampant construction, only <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/05/worlds-free-flowing-rivers-mapped-hydropower/" target="_blank">37 percent of the world's rivers remain free-flowing</a>, according to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1111-9" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">one study</a>. River fragmentation has <a href="https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/70/4/330/5732594" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">decimated freshwater habitats and fish stocks</a>, threatening food security for millions of the world's most vulnerable people, and hastening the <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffopperman/2020/10/13/freshwater-wildlife-continues-to-decline-but-new-energy-trendlines-suggest-we-can-bend-that-curve/?sh=f9d175a61ee4" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">decline of other myriad freshwater species</a>, including mammals, birds and reptiles.</p><p>The communities that experienced the most harm from dams — whether in Asia, Latin America or Africa — often lacked political power and access. But that didn't stop grassroots movements from organizing and growing to fight for their rights and livelihoods. The people affected by dams began raising their voices, sharing their experiences and forging alliances across borders. By the 1990s, the public <a href="https://tinyurl.com/y55lnlst" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">outcry</a> against large dams had grown so loud that it finally led to the establishment of the WCD.</p><p>What the WCD found was stunning. While large dam projects had brought some economic benefits, they had also <a href="https://www.irn.org/wcd/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">forcibly displaced an estimated 40 to 80 million people in the 20th century alone</a>. To put that number into perspective, it is more than the current population of present-day <a href="https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL?locations=FR" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">France</a> or the <a href="https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL?locations=GB" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Kingdom</a>. These people lost their lands and homes to dams, and often with no compensation.</p><p>Subsequent research has compounded that finding. A paper published in <a href="https://tinyurl.com/c7uznz" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Water Alternatives</a> revealed that globally, more than <a href="https://tinyurl.com/yxw8x7ab" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">470 million people living downstream from large dams</a> have faced significant impacts to their lives and livelihoods — much of it due to disruptions in water supply, which in turn harm the complex web of life that depends on healthy, free-flowing rivers. The WCD's findings, released in 2000, <a href="https://www.irn.org/wcd/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">identified</a> the importance of restoring rivers, compensating communities for their losses, and finding better energy alternatives to save rivers and ecosystems.</p>
Facing a New Crisis<p>Twenty years after the WCD uncovered a crisis along the world's rivers and recommended a new development path — one that advances community-driven development and protects freshwater resources — we find ourselves in the midst of another crisis. The global pandemic has hit us hard, with surging loss of life, unemployment and instability.</p><p>But as governments work to rebuild economies and create job opportunities in the coming years, we have a choice: Double down on the failed, outdated technologies that have harmed so many, or change course and use this transformative moment to rebuild our natural systems and uplift communities.</p><p>There are many reasons to fight for a green recovery. The climate is changing even <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07586-5" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">faster</a> than expected, and some dams — especially those with reservoirs in hot climates — <a href="https://tinyurl.com/w6w29t8" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">have been found to emit more greenhouse gases than a fossil fuel power plant</a>. Other estimates have put global reservoirs' human-made greenhouse gas emissions each year on par with <a href="https://www.climatecentral.org/news/greenhouse-gases-reservoirs-fuel-climate-change-20745" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Canada's</a> total emissions.</p><p>Meanwhile, we now understand that healthy rivers and freshwater ecosystems play a <a href="https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/b55b1fe4-7d09-47af-96c4-6cbb5f106d4f/files/wetlands-role-carbon-cycle.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">critical role in regulating and storing carbon</a>. And at a time when <a href="https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/nature-decline-unprecedented-report/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">biodiversity loss is soaring</a>, anything we can do to <a href="https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/70/4/330/5732594" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">restore habitat is key</a>. But with <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271996520_A_Global_Boom_in_Hydropower_dam_Construction" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">more than 3,700 major dams proposed or under construction</a> in the world (primarily in the Global South, with over <a href="https://news.mongabay.com/2020/08/more-than-500-dams-planned-inside-protected-areas-study/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">500 of these in protected areas</a>), according to a 2014 report — and the hydropower industry <a href="https://www.hydropower.org/covid-19" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">jockeying</a> for scarce stimulus dollars — we must act urgently.</p>
Signs of Hope<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTcxMzUyMS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxOTcyNTc3OX0.EbqBVPs2kjhrY5AqnZXOb_GX-s6pw4qyJmmeISzKA6U/img.png?width=980" id="a81d0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="87bc79d69f72e9334a78da8e0355e6ae" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1620" data-height="1068" />
Fish catch at the Siphandone on the Mekong River, prior to the completion of the Don Sahong Dam. Pai Deetes / International Rivers<p>So what would a strong, resilient and equitable recovery look like in the 21st century? Let's consider one example in Southeast Asia.</p><p>Running through six countries, the Mekong River is the world's 12th-longest river, which is home to one of the world's most biodiverse regions, and includes the world's <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/places/greater-mekong#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">largest</a> inland fishery. Around <a href="https://tinyurl.com/y6jrarjo" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">80 percent of the nearly 65 million people</a> who live in the Lower Mekong River Basin depend on the river for their livelihoods, according to the Mekong River Commission. In 1994, Thailand built the Pak Mun Dam on a Mekong tributary. <a href="https://tinyurl.com/y5ekfp4h" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Six years later</a>, the <a href="https://tinyurl.com/yxcvs6up" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">WCD studied the dam's performance</a> and submitted its conclusions and recommendations as part of its final report in 2000. According to the WCD report, the Pak Mun Dam did not deliver the peaking energy service it was designed for, and it <a href="https://tinyurl.com/y38p3jaw" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">physically blocked a critical migration route</a> for a range of fish species that migrated annually to breeding grounds upstream in the Mun River Basin. Cut off from their customary habitat, fish stocks plummeted, and so did the livelihoods of the local people.</p><p>Neighboring Laos, instead of learning from this debacle, followed in Thailand's footsteps, <a href="https://tinyurl.com/y4eaxcq2" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">constructing two dams on the river's mainstem</a>, Xayaburi Dam, commissioned in 2019, and Don Sahong Dam, commissioned in 2020. But then a sign of hope appeared. In early 2020, just as the pandemic began to spread across the world, the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/20/cambodia-scraps-plans-for-mekong-hydropower-dams" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cambodian government reconsidered its plans to build more dams on the Mekong</a>. The science was indisputable: A government-commissioned report showed that further dams would <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/16/leaked-report-warns-cambodias-biggest-dam-could-literally-kill-mekong-river" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reduce the river's wild fisheries, threaten critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphins</a> and <a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2013WR014651" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">block nutrient-rich sediment from the delta's fertile agricultural lands</a>.</p><p><a href="https://data.opendevelopmentmekong.net/dataset/4f1bb5fd-a564-4d37-878b-c288af460143/resource/5f6fe360-7a68-480d-9ba4-12d7b8b805c9/download/volume-3_solar-alternative-to-sambor-dam.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Studies</a> show that Cambodia didn't need to seek billions of dollars in loans to build more hydropower; instead, it could pursue more cost-effective solar and wind projects that would deliver needed electricity at a fraction of the cost — and <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/press-releases/wwf-statement-on-cambodian-government-s-decision-to-suspend-hydropower-dam-development-on-the-mekong-river" target="_blank">without the ecological disasters to fisheries and the verdant Mekong delta</a>. And, in a stunning reversal, Cambodia listened to the science — and to the people — and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/20/cambodia-scraps-plans-for-mekong-hydropower-dams" target="_blank">announced</a> a 10-year moratorium on mainstream dams. Cambodia is now <a href="https://www.voanews.com/east-asia-pacific/cambodia-halts-hydropower-construction-mekong-river-until-2030" target="_blank">reconsidering</a> its energy mix, recognizing that mainstream hydropower dams are too costly and undermine the economic and cultural values of its flagship river.</p>
Toward a Green Recovery<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTcxMzUwOS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTMwMjk0M30.0LZCOEVzgtgjm2_7CwcbFfuZlrtUr80DiRYxqKGaKIg/img.jpg?width=980" id="87fe9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e6b9bfeb013516f6ad5033bb9e03c5ec" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="2100" data-height="3086" />
Klamath River Rapids. Tupper Ansel Blake / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service<p>Increasingly, governments, civil servants and the public at large are rethinking how we produce energy and are seeking to preserve and restore precious freshwater resources. Dam removals are increasing exponentially across <a href="https://www.americanrivers.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/DamsRemoved_1999-2019.pdf" target="_blank">North America</a> and <a href="https://damremoval.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/DRE-policy-Report-2018-digitaal-010319.pdf" target="_blank">Europe</a>, and movements advancing <a href="https://www.rightsofrivers.org/" target="_blank">permanent river protection are growing across Latin America, Asia and Africa</a>.</p><p>We must use the COVID-19 crisis to accelerate the trend. Rather than relying on old destructive technologies and industry claims of newfound "<a href="https://www.hydrosustainability.org/news/2020/11/12/consultation-on-a-groundbreaking-global-sustainability-standard-for-hydropower" target="_blank">sustainable hydropower</a>," the world requires a new paradigm for an economic recovery that is rooted both in climate and economic justice as well as river stewardship. Since December 2020, hundreds of groups and individuals from more than 80 countries have joined the <a href="https://www.rivers4recovery.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Rivers4Recovery</a> call for a better way forward for rivers and natural places. This paradigm will protect our rivers as critical lifelines — supporting fisheries, biodiversity, water supply, food production, Indigenous peoples and diverse populations around the world — rather than damming and polluting them.</p><p>The promise of the Klamath dam removals is one of restoration — a move that finally recognizes the immense value of free-flowing rivers and the key role they play in <a href="https://f.hubspotusercontent20.net/hubfs/4783129/LPR/PDFs/Living_Planet_Report_Freshwater_Deepdive.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">nourishing both the world's biodiversity and hundreds of millions of people</a>. Healthy rivers — connected to watershed forests, floodplains, wetlands and deltas — are key partners in building resilience in the face of an accelerating climate crisis. But if we allow the hydropower industry to succeed in its <a href="https://www.world-energy.org/article/12361.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cynical grab for stimulus funds</a>, we'll only perpetuate the 20th century's legacy of suffering and environmental degradation.</p><p>We must put our money where our values are. Twenty years ago, the WCD pointed the way forward to a model of development that takes humans, wildlife and the environment into account, and in 2020, we saw that vision flower along the Klamath River. It's time to bring that promise of healing and restoration to more of the world's rivers.</p><p><em>Deborah Moore is a former commissioner of the <a href="https://www.water-alternatives.org/index.php/alldoc/articles/vol3/v3issue2/79-a3-2-2/file" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" style="">World Commission on Dams</a>. Michael Simon was a member of the <a href="https://www.hydrosustainability.org/assessment-protocol" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" style="">Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Forum</a>. Darryl Knudsen is the executive director of <a href="https://www.internationalrivers.org" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" style="">International Rivers</a>.</em></p><p><em>This article first appeared on <a href="https://truthout.org/articles/damming-rivers-is-terrible-for-human-rights-ecosystems-and-food-security/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Truthout</a> and was produced in partnership with <a href="https://independentmediainstitute.org/earth-food-life/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Earth | Food | Life</a>, a project of the Independent Media Institute.</em></p>
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