Water, Power & Discontent

Early last year an article in the Guardian reminded me of work I had done in Montenegro in an earlier decade. The work was among the most impactful in my life, both professionally and personally, but the reminder was more a warning than a celebration. Something similar just happened with work I carried out in the region Rachel Dixon, a travel writer for the Guardian, brought to my attention with the film above, mentioned in this article:

Adventure in Albania: kayaking in one of Europe’s final frontiers

With wild rivers, mountains and Unesco sites aplenty, Albania is emerging as an exciting Mediterranean destination – but its wilderness could be devastated by huge dam-building projects

5188‘Go, go, go!” The white-water rafting guide shouted orders from the back of the boat and our five-strong crew paddled hard to stay on course. We were tackling a stretch of the Vjosa, a 270km river that begins in Greece (where it is called the Aoös) and flows through Albania and into the Adriatic just north of the city of Vlora. I was on a recce trip for a new southern Albanian break with Much Better Adventures, which specialises in long weekends to wild places in Europe and North Africa. But this trip was not just a fun adventure – rather just part of a campaign to save the river, which is under threat from proposed dams. A documentary film, Blue Heart, out this month, will highlight the fight to protect Europe’s last wild rivers, with help from ecotourism…

The film, and the article, have to do with the power of water. And the power of humans in deciding what to do with water. Not all reminders can be pleasant. This one is bittersweet. One sweet part is the call to action.

CallAct1

Step 1: Register your interest in hosting a screening

We are aiming to host hundreds of screenings of Blue Heart globally in 2018 to raise awareness of the plight of the people affected in the Balkan region. If you are interested in hosting a screening, please complete the form below and a member of our team will get back to you ASAP.  Please note the film is 40 mins long and we recommend that you allow at least 20 mins for a post screening discussion.

For any further questions feel free to contact the Blue Heart screenings teams! In North America, email Film Sprout at carla@filmsprout.org. For all other regions, email Together Films at BlueHeart@TogetherFilms.org.

Another sweet part is also a call to action, this in the form of rethinking our understanding of what renewable energy means:

CallAct2

All Dams Are Dirty

(And so is the hydropower they create)

Hydropower is the only “renewable” energy source sending species to extinction, displacing people globally, and contributing to climate change.

Dams & Diversions

CallAct3

The Mratinje Dam on the Piva River in Montenegro

What’s the Difference?

Dams and river-draining diversions are both devastating to ecosystems and the people who live within them. In the Balkans, 91% of the more than 3,000 proposed dam projects involve small hydropower diversion dams, which divert water from rivers and even drain stretches of rivers dry. Studies have found that the cumulative impacts of multiple small diversions often outweigh those of a single large dam.

Dams

Dams block a river and impound water upstream in reservoirs.

Continue exploring this call to action here.

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