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Dean of the College presents
Global Environmentalism and the Mega Hydropower Projects of the Eastern Himalayas
Some of the largest construction projects in history are currently under way on the rivers of the Eastern Himalayas. A few years ago it seemed as if mega dams had become a thing of the past. There was an emerging global consensus regarding the adverse ecological impact of large dams. But in this century dams – and those designed for hydropower production in particular -- have acquired a new lease of life for a number of reasons: (a) the relentless growth in the demand for energy in China and India, (b) the growing pressure on these countries to reduce carbon emissions that has made hydropower more attractive, and (c) the liberalization and globalization of capital and financial markets which brought about new ways of financing hydropower projects, making the campaigns of the 1990s by environmentalists that had focused on the financing of dams by institutions such as the World Bank irrelevant. The hydropower projects of the Eastern Himalayas will surely destroy the health of some of the world’s most powerful rivers and their ecosystems. My current work focuses on the dams being built on the Indian side, and on one set of social effects in particular: the enclosure of the water commons, which I argue, will have a devastating impact on the livelihoods of millions. That these developments are to a significant extent the unintended effect of climate change having moved up on the global policy agenda, which has made hydropower more acceptable, is a challenge to the global environmental movement.
This seminar will be held in Olin 102 beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Join us for a reception in the Olin atrium beginning at 6:30 p.m.
For more information, call 845-758-7490, or e-mail .
Location: Olin, Room 102