October 29, 2020

A Storied Battle Over North Dakota Oil Pipeline

Heavy snow and winter cold settled this month on thousands of Native Americans and their supporters encamped on Standing Rock Sioux tribal lands south of Bismarck, North Dakota. Nearby, the Missouri River slipped past. The river’s clean waters serve as the wellspring in what has steadily become one of the storied confrontations over energy development, justice, finance, and human rights in the American West. Viewed in one dimension, the standoff over construction of a 1,172-mile, …

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Challenged By Drought, Fire, Earthquake, and Flood, California Departs On New Path

OROVILLE, CA — Until visitors peer over the crest of 770-foot Oroville Dam, which stores the cold Sierra waters of the Feather River and is the tallest dam in the United States, it’s hard to tell a drought grips Butte County, or any of the other neighboring Central Valley counties in this part of northern California. The dirt-lined transport canals are filled to the top with water that slakes the thirst of thousands of hectares …

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Lower Subansiri Dam, Unfinished and Silent, Could Be Tomb For India’s Giant Hydropower Projects

ITANAGAR, India – With all the immediate distress and hopeful fervor that has greeted Narendra Modi’s new administration, one of the government’s unyielding themes is the prime minister’s allegiance to running water. Specifically, the swift currents that pour from the steep flanks of the Himalaya range as a cure for the country’s endemic electricity shortages. In the three months after his election last May the 64-year-old leader personally dedicated three new hydropower plants and a …

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World Water Day Ingredients Need Big Dash of Urgency

From east to west, ever since the world began, there was water. Plentiful. Clean. Always available. None of those descriptions apply to water today.  Though the condition of the world’s water is perilous, and job-producing opportunities for conservation and efficiency are abundant, water’s ranking on the list of public priorities and attention typically is not near the top. It’s not for a lack of effort from the water wonks. In 1993, a year after international …

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Panama’s Hydropower Development Defined By Fierce Resistance and Tough Choices

CHANGUINOLA, Panama – Rain clouds regularly settle atop the 1800-meter (5900-foot) summits of the Cordillera de Talamanca, the mountain spine that separates the Pacific Ocean from the Caribbean in Panama’s Bocas del Toro province. When the mist clears, the full measure of the blue sea, powerful rivers, and splendid forests full of toucans and cacao trees is visible and stunning. In the five centuries since Christopher Columbus alighted on the beaches of Bocas del Toro …

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Meghalaya Documentary — “Broken Landscape” — Premieres At Big Sky Film Festival

Sean Peoples, a filmmaker with the Wilson Center, arrived today in Missoula, Montana to attend tomorrow’s premiere of “Broken Landscape” at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. The 13-minute documentary, which Sean co-produced with Michael Miller, explores the aftermath of the unexpected court-ordered shutdown of one of the word’s most lawless and dangerous coal fields, in Meghalaya, India. Judges have already recognized “Broken Landscape” as one of the ten best documentaries among the 125 films …

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India’s Economy Slows As Condition of Water, Land, and Cities Deteriorates

At the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Barack Obama arrives on Sunday in New Delhi, the first American president to honor Republic Day, the day that India’s Constitution took effect in 1950. During the three-day visit, the president and the prime minister are expected to talk about trade, and technology, and diplomacy. There could even be some kind of statement on climate-changing emissions. India is the planet’s third largest producer of coal, behind …

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Panama’s Water-Rich Eden Confronts Snake’s Temptation

PANAMA CITY, Panama – Quebrada Ancha, a community that settled in Panama’s thick forest 50 years ago, lies at the northern end of Lago Alajuela, a freshwater lake built by the United States at the end of the Great Depression to control floods in the Panama Canal Zone. It takes 20 minutes in a fast 40-foot dugout boat to get there. In early morning’s luminous light and cooling breeze the trip is a passage across …

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U.S.-China Climate Agreement a Circle of Blue High Point

There’s no pretending that providing secure stores of fresh water, and producing adequate supplies of energy and food is confounding the nations of Earth. In the era of climate change most of the world’s prominent energy and food producing regions are either getting dryer or more hydrologically unstable. The consequence Is a growing list of global choke points – the economically and ecologically disruptive confrontations over water, energy, and agricultural resources that Circle of Blue and …

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Meghalaya’s Coal Shutdown Is Leaky, Testing Authority of Law and Court

JOWAI, India — On April 17, in a ruling that stunned miners, truckers, and owners in this region of black dust and rivers that run the colors of the rainbow, India’s National Green Tribunal ordered Meghalaya’s $US 650 million coal mining industry to shut down. Nothing like it had ever happened to the coal industry in India or anywhere else. Ruling that Meghalaya’s globally unique ‘rathole’ box mines were too dangerous and too dirty to …

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