Hydro yet powerless

DR Cartoon

Humans need to be able to lie down in green pastures and to be led beside tranquil waters. In addition to global warming, one of the most important things about energy conservation is that it can allow humans to lessen bad tradeoffs. Energy waste implies more energy expended than needed for a given function. Not all renewable energies are equal and none are cost-free. In addition to energy conservation, some suggest that more attention should be given to “renewable energy solutions [that will be] local or community based” (Williams C., 2010. Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis. Haymarket Books, 155; cited in Pamphlet No. 1: A Winding Path to Workers’ Gardens/Un camino de bobina a jardines de trabajadores, at page 101.).

One of the largest recurring expenses of the Dominican Republic is maintenance of its hydroelectric projects, which fill up with silt. Downstream, the environment that people counted on and enjoyed for hundreds of years is wrecked. For miles, children who live along what used to be a nice river live next to a dust machine. They often have no good transportation to school up and down the “river valley” and may walk several miles a day on the dusty road trying to avoid large trucks that transport out the now dry river stones and gravel to sell for construction. Thus, beautiful countryside is negatively transformed into desolate terrain of alienation. Fishing and other sustainable and enjoyable pastimes are lost. Decisions on tradeoffs and massive expenditures like this are not decided democratically, and the people most affected can move to the urban slums if they do not like it. I have no easy answer, but the lives of the former river people are sad, and the ecological and peace-generating value of the river is destroyed.

Brother Francisco

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