Dams at center of the Devils’ world, and Happy New Year

Another year has passed and without any new information about what the Anderson CED might have in mind in the way of a Dam Plan 2.0.  The public has been advised, via a Herald Bulletin update report, only that other alternatives are been studied.  Likely the dam promoters are working behind the scenes to grease the skids for more public study-money to keep their consultants employed in the task of rationalizing and glamorizing a bad idea.

Meanwhile, the Heart of the River Coalition has incorporated (in late 2015) as an Indiana not-for-profit, organized for educational purposes.  Its regular On Nature columns are published in the Herald Bulletin, and its board of directors continues to be engaged in conservation issues.

As a Christmas gift, I received a recently published book titled Canoes– A Natural History in North America. It’s a beautiful book, rich in history and photography.  In his Foreword, John McPhee supplies pointed observations about dams–.

“In the view of conservationists, there is something special about dams, something – as conservation problems go – that is disproportionately and metaphorically sinister.  The outermost circle of the Devils’ world seems to be a moat filled mainly with DDT.  Next to it is a moat of burning gasoline.  Within that is a ring of pinheads each covered with a million people – and so on past phalanxed bulldozers and bicuspid chain saws into the absolute epicenter of Hell on earth, where stands a dam. 

The implications of the dam exceed its true level in the scale of environmental catastrophes.  Conservationists who can hold themselves in reasonable check before new oil spills and fresh megalopolises mysteriously go insane at even the thought of a dam. The conservation movement is a mystical and religious force, and possibly the reaction to dams is so violent because rivers are the ultimate metaphors of existence, and dams destroy rivers.  Humiliating nature, a dam is evil— placed and solid.”

Scenes from A Life in Canoes, the Foreword by John McPhee to Canoes— A Natural History in North America by Mark Neuzil and Norman Sims



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