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How Many Dam Bursts Are Too Many? – August 30, 2018

Many nations are counting on hydropower to meet growing energy needs even as climate change is likely to increase risks

This week, a breach of the Swar Chaung dam in central Myanmar forced an estimated 50,000 people from their homes and flooded the country’s main highway. The dam, located in Bago region, overflowed as the result of this year’s particularly generous monsoon, which has already flooded crops in south and central Myanmar and displaced 150,000 people.

 photo of dam in LaosPhoto by Asian Development BankClimate scientists are predicting that increased rainfall will be one of the most unpredictable and potentially catastrophic effects of climate change. It follows that flooding and dam breaches could become more common. (Pictured:… more

by: Fiona McAlpine

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Indigenous-Led Conservation Could Be Climate Change Silver Bullet – July 4, 2018

New study in Borneo combines book knowledge with bush knowledge to empower local communities and protect rainforests

Sandwiched between the Indonesian border to the east, Mount Murud to the north and the Pulong Tau National Park to the west, the Kelabit Highland town of Bario is the kind of Shangri La that Borneo dreams are made of.

photo of dewdropphoto courtesy of PexelsThe Borneo Project is putting together a study in the Kelabit Highlands to codify Indigenous knowledge about the land and gather new data. 

This remote region of Sarawak is what anthropologist Tom Harrison called “the last frontier of the tropical world.” Only accessible by 10-seater propeller plane, the Highlands are home to the descendants of headhunters and nomads who believed… more

by: Fiona McAlpine

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Mega Dams Are So Last Year – March 14, 2018

And we can’t wait for the day we can say these destructive projects are history

In February last year, the residents of the small town of Oroville in California’s Gold Country were told a 30-foot wall of water was headed their way. The men and women of the town ran through the streets in panic, and almost 200,000 people were evacuated from the area. These were not extras in a Deep Impact reboot, they were running from a structural failure in America’s tallest dam — the 770-foot-tall Oroville Dam had run into problems with both its main and emergency spillways after days of heavy rainfall and chances of massive breach seemed very likely.

As the world watched on with bated breath, the emergency spillway eased… more

by: Fiona McAlpine

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Sarawak Is Worth Saving from Timber Barons and Palm Oil Tycoons – December 18, 2017

It’s time for Malaysia to listen to Indigenous communities and help preserve Borneo

I’m piled into the back of a 4x4 on my first trip to Sarawak, alongside my compadre and boss Jettie Word. We are barrelling down the road from Miri to Sungai Keluan — a strip of highway that can be described as part paradise, part post-apocalyptic — on our way to visit an Indigenous community fighting to save their last remaining patch of rainforest. We are visiting as part of our work with Earth Island Institute’s Borneo Project, an organization that supports community-led efforts to defend forests, sustainable livelihoods, and human rights in Borneo.

photo of borneoPhoto by Fiona McAlpineJok Jau Evong, pictured in… more

by: Fiona McAlpine

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