Having learned to row in Australia, I have not had the opportunity to see what damage damming has caused in Tasmania, but I have had the pleasure of enjoying what remains unspoiled. After many trips to Tasmania’s pristine rivers, I was both intimidated and inspired by the previous generation who lined up in front of the machinery to prevent dams from being built. Without this generation’s courage to act, these countries would no longer exist. It was easy for me to appreciate what was before my eyes, but it was almost impossible to imagine what was no longer there. If the last wild rivers disappear, how will the next generation learn about the riches we once had? How will they know that certain things are worth protecting? If the number of these wild places decreases, does it mean that the desire to protect them will also decrease?
Today, the whole world is dealing with an important issue: the need for development and progress, but paying little attention to what we lose in these actions. What we gain in free energy, we lose in experiencing and valuing the world around us. If you get a TV, then you lose the peace, tranquility and sense of communication you had before. Each additional megawatt gained helps expand a city and cover an area with concrete. Is it really our intention to expand more and more until everything is covered? When will this all end? Why is development directly accepted as a valid goal, while the protection of natural treasures is left aside? If we continue on the same path there will be no more free flowing rivers.
All rivers are at risk: from the last untouched river in Europe to the last free-flowing river in the Amazon. Until some miracle happens, all wild places are in danger. As long as there is a free-flowing river, there will always be someone who wants to stop it. They have money, power and billions of worthless dollars to take advantage of. We, the people who value wild places, are strong as long as we stand together. We all have the opportunity to be heard and act.
The tour of the Balkan rivers is a wonderful initiative because it brings together those who want to know and who can communicate with people who have no information about it. How can things change? Just by being part of the tour, seeing the places and connecting with them, talking, getting to know what will happen and what will be missed, you can make a difference. If we realize that we really love the places we visit, we will find a way to save them. We have to find it.
The Balkan River Tour is a joint activity of Leeway Collective, EuroNatur, Riverwatch, and WWF, organized within the “Save the Blue Heart of Europe” campaign.
Without taking into account protected areas, endangered species or local communities, around 2,700 hydroelectric dams are planned to be built between Slovenia and Albania. With this campaign, we want to stop the tsunami of dam building.
Find out more here: http://www.balkanrivers.net/