The Wild and Scenic Film Festival delivered a powerful punch on Saturday night at the Invermere Community Hall. The longest film of the night was a documentary entitled Damocracy about, you guessed it, dams.
It seems Site C protesters have compatriots around the world fighting the same fight —protecting valuable, irreplaceable land from governments determined to build big dams. regardless of the irreversible and devastating consequences.
The two proposed dams the film examines are in the Amazon — the Belo Monte Dam in Brazil — and in Turkey — the Ilisu Dam on the Tigris River.
In Turkey, entire villages including Hasankeyf, with ruins and history that dates back to the Bronze Age, are to be submerged. Hundreds of unexplored archaeological sites are to be flooded and the dam’s environmental impact has not been studied. In the Amazon, the Brazilian government is building the world’s third largest hydroelectric dam on the Xingu River, designed to divert eighty percent of the Xingu River’s flow ,which will devastate an area of over 1,500 square kilometres of Brazilian rainforest and cause the forced displacement of up to 40,000 people, many of whom are indigenous peoples whose cultures are quickly becoming extinct.
Here in B.C., the highly-controversial Site C dam would flood 6,469 hectares of prime agricultural land in order to power LNG terminals that, according to the Liberal government’s promises, are the future of B.C.’s economy. But building an $8 billion energy megaproject to power a big “maybe” when B.C. Hydro is already deeply in debt and rates are set to increase makes about as much sense as destroying even more of the Amazon or the Tigris Valley, a World Heritage Site. Even though geothermal energy now is being presented as a viable alternative capable of producing enough electricity to meet BC Hydro’s projected needs, Bennett’s saying no to a delay. Damocracy, indeed.