Nature Needs More Good Ideas

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There is no known vaccine against temptation to harness nature. There is not enough nature left on the planet to allow this temptation to spread. But bad ideas are infectious:

Tanzania presses on with hydroelectric dam on vast game reserve

Stiegler Gorge dam on the Selous park, a world heritage site listed as ‘in danger’, will cause irreversible damage, say conservationists

Plans to build a huge hydroelectric dam in the heart of one of Africa’s largest remaining wild areas have dismayed conservationists who fear that the plans will cause irreversible damage to the Selous game reserve in Tanzania.

After many years of delays and false starts, last week the president of Tanzania, John Magufuli, announced that he would be going ahead with the Stiegler’s Gorge dam on the Rufiji river. Magufuli, nicknamed “the Bulldozer”, was elected in 2015 in part on his record of successful road and infrastructure building. The dam will provide 2,100MW of electricity to a country that is currently extremely undersupplied: Tanzania, with a population of approximately 53m to the UK’s 65m, has just 1,400MW of installed grid capacity compared to the UK’s total grid capacity of 85,000MW.

The dam is planned for the heart of the Selous, a game reserve the size of Switzerland. The reserve is home to a huge variety of species including elephants, cheetahs, giraffes and crocodiles. The reserve is a world heritage site but was listed as “in danger” by Unesco a couple of years ago when there were catastrophic falls in animal numbers after heavy poaching.

“The Stiegler’s Gorge project has been a significant concern for many years now due to its potential negative impact on the world heritage site,” said the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s world heritage conservation officer, Remco van Merm. “This includes inundation of significant wildlife habitat, including that of the critically endangered black rhinoceros, as well as a heightened risk of poaching and other illegal activities due to increased access to the area…

Read the whole article here.

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