Sacred Earth Travel - Sustainable Nature and Adventure Travel



patagonia (15K)

Patagonia - the very essence of untouched, pristine wilderness at the end of the world - glacial ice fields, rugged mountains, ancient forests, a maze of fjords and wild, untamed rivers. That is Patagonia today. But peril looms in paradise. The Spanish Energy company Endesa, or rather its Chilean Offchoot, Endesa Chile and the Chilean Colbún signed a contract in 2006 to turn this wilderness into a wasteland. Under the innocent sounding project name of 'HidroAysen' no less than 5 hydroelectric dams are planned in Patagonia, to harness the power of the wild, glacier-fed Baker and Pascua rivers. Undoubtedly this would change the pristine face of this magical landscape forever and turn it into an ugly, marred, desolate moonscape of clearcut mountains, blasted rockfaces and high voltage electricity pylons that will march down the Carretera Austral for more than 2000 miles.

Valleys that today give shelter to innumerable rare and precious species, will be flooded and wiped off the face of the earth. Chile is an 'aggressively' progressive country and progress needs to be fed with natural resources - that is the argument used to justify the pillage. People need more energy if they are going to keep up (or catch up) with the modern world. Yes, we all need energy - but at what price? A wilderness can never return to what it was once it has been destroyed. This kind of largescale devastation is forever.

Politicians and resource hungry companies regard Patagonia as a desert, simply refusing to acknowledge the lives of the people who have made it their home. 'Nobody lives there, and thus it is (economically) worthless - lest we exploit its natural resources' - that is the argument used to justify the flooding of no less than 5,910 hectares of pristine wilderness.

Chile may be in need of more energy, but it is important to keep in mind that this extra energy is not needed for ordinary Chileans to be able to turn on their lights, run their fridges or TVs - no, this energy is mostly needed to drive another destructive industry: mining, which also lays waste to vast areas of the land.

Chile has a budding, but undervalued tourism sector. Its special appeal lies in the untamed wilderness, pristine nature and wildlife with which especially southern Chile is blessed. Yet, the government does not consider tourism important enough to set up a special department for it and there are no organized or concerted efforts to develop tourism as a sustainable source of revenue. Tourism also needs power - but let it's source be truly sustainable and not annihilate this unique opportunity to preserve one of the last great wildernesses on earth

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