Beyond the Green New Deal: Eco-Socialism and Decolonization
By Michael Novick
Environmental catastrophes in southern Africa and in the U.S. Midwest underscore the fact that life-threatening damage from capitalist-induced climate change is happening already.
Hundreds died as a result of the cyclone in Mozambique and elsewhere, where the resultant flooding has caused an "inland sea." Record flooding in Nebraska and elsewhere has caused multimillion-dollars of destruction, and more flooding is anticipated. Native communities in South Dakota have been hit particularly hard, with industrial and other waste contaminating drinking water sources.
Things are getting worse, despite the Paris Accord, with or without Trump and the U.S. Tim Radford of Climate News Network reports British meteorologists warning that although 2018 broke all records for greenhouse gas emissions, 2019 will see even more carbon dioxide added.
Some point to the Green New Deal introduced by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Edward Markey as the answer. Apparently it has been rendered DOA as far as Congress is concerned, via a "stunt vote" by Mitch McConnell in the Senate. But the impact of U.S. economic and military actions around the world make it clear that more than a "new deal" is needed, that decolonization and demilitarization are central to overcoming global climate injustice.
As the Indigenous Environmental Network has pointed out, the Green New Deal leaves much to be desired:
"The IEN applauds the Green New Deal resolution for its vision, intention, and scope. ... From sea level rise to loss of land, Indigenous frontline communities and Tribal nations are already experiencing the direct impacts of climate change, and we are encouraged to see these congressional leaders ... help Indigenous communities and Tribal nations protect their homelands, rights, sacred sites, waters, air, and bodies from further destruction.
"However, ...we remain concerned that unless changes are made..., the Green New Deal will leave incentives ... to continue causing harm to Indigenous communities.... the most impactful way to address the problem is to keep fossil fuels in the ground. We can no longer leave options for the fossil fuel industry to determine the economic and energy future of this country. Until the Green New Deal can be explicit in this demand and close the loop on harmful incentives, we cannot fully endorse the resolution."
The IEN identifies several major problems with the Green New Deal:
1. Its goal of "net-zero emissions" implies the use of "carbon accounting" including carbon pricing systems and/or Payments for Ecological Services. This provides opportunity to fossil fuel industries to continue extraction and combustion. Geo-engineering technologies like Carbon Capture Sequestration can be claimed as producing net zero emissions as well as "building green infrastructure." Carbon trading allows polluters to buy and sell permits to pollute, and privatizes the air that we breathe.
2. "Renewable/Clean Energy" needs to be clearly defined. Burning "bridge fuels" like fracked gas, municipal waste and biomass, nuclear energy and large-scale hydroelectric dams all pose major environmental justice concerns.
3. Restoring and protecting threatened and fragile ecosystems is linked to supporting climate "resiliency." Restoration projects could be used as climate mitigation schemes. Programs like Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) "financialize" Nature and turn its "carbon-sink" capacities into commodities to be sold in speculative markets.
4. Compensation for farmers might include funding for GMOs and/or Climate Smart Agriculture, so-called "carbon farming" for "offsets" of industrial pollution.
5. Weak language on indigenous peoples sovereignty: Its "stakeholders" don't explicitly include indigenous people. IEN suggests the following language instead:
"The Green New Deal must be developed in transparent and inclusive consultation ... and partnership in recognition of the sovereignty and self-determination of federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes and villages including all ...rights secured under treaties, statutes, executive orders and federal and state court cases. These projects will also include ...Native Hawaiian organizations and State recognized Tribes. Acknowledge the ... Tribes that develop ... their own Free, Prior and Informed Consent laws [for] Indian Country, inclusive of their lands, waters, territories and resources; and off-reservation hunting, fishing, medicine gathering, food gathering, cultural and spiritual practices..."
Indigenous people worldwide pay a heavy price for U.S. practices. U.S. imperialism continues to have primary responsibility for damage to the climate. According to the University of Michigan, in 2018, 80 percent of the energy consumed in the U.S. came from oil, gas, and coal. Only 11 percent came from so-called "renewables"; 40+ percent of that was biomass, which requires a large amount of land and energy to produce and still causes carbon emissions. And that doesn't include all the U.S.-destined production and energy consumption that has been off-shored to low-wage countries.
According to PopularResistance.org:
"The U.S. is the largest crude oil producer in the world. … [At the end of March,] Mike Pompeo met with oil and gas industry executives to remind them of their role in fueling wars to control the world's oil. Bill Van Auken reports, 'Pompeo's speech provided a blunt description of U.S. predatory aims across the planet that involve the interests of [its] energy conglomerates.' [Pompeo] was open about U.S. imperialist aims regarding oil in Iran and Venezuela."
The U.S. military is responsible for the worst and most widespread pollution on earth, yet this goes unreported by corporate media and unaddressed by U.S. environmentalists. It wasn't the focus of restrictions at the UN Climate Change Conference. Global operations of the U.S. military (wars, interventions, over 1000 bases around the world and 6,000 facilities in the U.S.) aren't counted against U.S. greenhouse gas limits. According to Steve Kretzmann, director of Oil Change International, "The Iraq war was responsible for ...more than 60 percent [of the emissions as] that of all countries. . . . [M]ilitary emissions abroad are exempt from national reporting requirements under U.S. law and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change."
So people in the U.S. must struggle to keep hydrocarbons in the ground, resist U.S. militarism, and uphold the sovereignty of indigenous people. This includes offering concrete alternatives, like the Mutual Aid centers in Puerto Rico, or the clean water programs supported by Puerto Ricans in Action in Los Angeles, to recovery efforts controlled by U.S. NGOs and the military. Puerto Rico is as damaged, ongoing, by U.S. colonialism and disaster capitalism, as by Hurricane Maria. That's why the Puerto Rican Federation of Teachers, in the documentary "Lucha Si!" and in their daily organizing, make it clear that decolonization and Puerto Rican sovereignty is the solution to the privatization of schools being imposed under the colonial government's austerity programs and the U.S.-imposed "PROMESA" financial junta that controls the island nation's finances in order to prioritize repayment of debt to vulture capitalists. On the occasion of getting the PR Department of Education to reverse the closing of several schools, Mercedes Martinez, the union president, said, "Everything is possible, if we fight. More than ever proud to have been arrested with 20 comrades for defending public education."
Similarly, to respond to the devastation in Africa, we must support self-determined grassroots efforts. More than 1.5 million people have been affected across the three Southern African countries, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. The Chimanimani district in Mozambique has been cut off by torrential rains and winds that swept away roads and bridges knocking out power and communication lines. Global Citizen offers specific ways to help victims, as well as general guidelines for providing conscientious assistance to formerly colonized peoples.
Decolonization as central to the struggle for sustainability and climate justice goes well beyond the current Green New Deal resolution. As eco-socialists in the Democratic Socialists of America acknowledge in their paper on an eco-socialist Green New Deal, we must "demilitarize, decolonize, and strive for a future of international solidarity."
They call for abandoning global military domination, and building consensus throughout the Global North for de-carbonization that outpaces less-industrialized countries, who have contributed the least to and are suffering the most from global warming. The U.S., they propose, should welcome refugees, share life-saving technologies freely, and provide mitigation resources requested by peoples in the Global South.
Their proposal continues, "Recognize the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples... Accept the decisions of Indigenous communities regarding future green infrastructure projects that impact their lands.... Remove United States military presence... around the world; end military aid and arms exports; and demilitarize our borders."
This is a step forward, along with acknowledging that we must solve the climate crisis and the inequality crisis together: "Climate remedies in the context of austerity will produce a popular backlash.... [I]neffectual gradualism and corporate obedience ... [have] proven to be a dead-end for humanity. We need rapid, systemic transformation that heals the stratification of wealth and power while putting de-carbonization and justice at the forefront."
Unfortunately, this same anti-colonial, anti-racist and anti-militarist orientation is not necessarily reflected in local implementation plans. The DSA-LA resolution on an eco-socialist Green New Deal in Los Angeles talks about "green jobs" and a bit about integrating work around housing and homelessness, and around immigration issues, but doesn't use an anti-colonial or anti-racist lens, and is silent about issues of militarism, local military-industrial complex industries or extractivism.
There is a strong need to sharpen up such proposals so that the axiom, "think globally, act locally" doesn't liquidate the essential role of the military and colonialism in creating the current crisis, or the role of self-determination and conscious solidarity in overcoming it. A truly eco-socialist approach would take on militarization of the police and the border, the toxic conditions in prisons, and related issues to help explain why we need to end capitalism and colonialism, not cut a deal to give them a new lease on life. Capitalism kills—its life is our death.
One positive aspect of the local proposal is that it does identify the need for mutual aid projects as a basis for organizing. As the threat of climate change increasingly becomes the deadly reality, we cannot afford to leave survival to the right-wing or racist survivalists. The left must step up to promote anti-racist collective common solutions in the process of uprooting and replacing the system that is to blame. "Survival pending revolution" was the basis for the Black Panther Party survival programs, and such efforts are needed more than ever today, to hasten the day when massive reforestation and restoration of grasslands and wetlands destroyed by capitalism and colonialism can begin to restore the natural carbon cycle. To de-carbonize, we must de-colonize.
Michael Novick is a longtime anti-racist with the Anti-Racist Action-Los Angeles/People Against Racist Terror (ARA-LA/PART). He is also a labor activist and a member of the local station board of KPFK 90.7FM in Los Angeles. He can be reached at [email protected].
This article was produced by Earth | Food | Life, a project of the Independent Media Institute.
Versions of this article have appeared in Turning the Tide: Journal of Intercommunal Solidarity from Anti-Racist Action LA and in Change Links Community Calendar & Progressive News.
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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