Osprey has been a proud sponsor of the Rios Libres Project since its inception 4 years ago. Rios Libres has worked tirelessly to protect Patagonia, Chile, from the HidroAysén consortium and their plan to overrun the region with five gratuitous and unsustainable hydroelectric dams. This past month marks a milestone victory in the movement for sustainable energy and environmental protection in Chile’s pristine Patagonia wild lands.
After 6 years of intense local protesting by the Chilean people, joined by tens of thousands of international supporters, we all now have reason to celebrate. Newly elected Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet ran on a platform that she would not support the HidroAysén project, while the newly appointed Minister of Environment announced on June 10th that the Chilean government has rejected HidroAysén. (more…)
The above clip is the trailer for a film called Streams of Consequence, which has been described as “a solution-based film that addresses the hard questions that remained unanswered in Rios Libres’s first film: “What does an alternative energy model look like?” “How do the Chileans feel about it?” and “Could Chile become a global leader by gaining energy independence via green technology?” Here’s the full scoop on how this film came about:
In summer 2010, photographer James ‘Q’ Martin and conservation biologist Chris Kassar started an organization called Rios Libres. The organization uses multi-media to join the fight to protect the wild lands of Patagonia from proposed dams that threaten two of the most pristine rivers in one of the world’s most spectacular regions. Last April, Q traveled south once again and landed in the thick of some of the largest anti-dam protests the country has ever seen. He captured historic footage of the protests, then spent nine weeks traveling the length of the country talking to gauchos, scientists, activists and the public in search of answers.
While the conversations Q captured while in Chile last April continue, the hope is that Streams of Consequence will serve to raise awareness and support those conversations here.
The film premiered at the 2013 Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival and will continue to show across the country via Wild and Scenic, other film festivals and grassroots screenings. Check it out here and be sure to let us know what you think!
Thanks to Patagonia’s The Cleanest Line for posting!
It’s that time again… Outdoor Retailer Summer Market kicks off this Wednesday and we’ve got a great line-up of events and giveaways for you! Here’s our down and dirty list of events…
Last week we brought you a post with tons of information about Osprey partner Rios Libres, an organization that’s fighting hard against proposed damming on Patagonia’s pristine and incredibly powerful rivers. If you haven’t already gone ahead and signed the Rios Libres petition against HidroAysen’s proposal to dam the Baker and Pascua here, don’t feel bad, we’ve got another opportunity for you to take action, and it’s pretty awesome in and of itself.
Launching today, Thursday, June 21st — and running through Tuesday, July 3rd is the Rios Libres Petition Contest, in which you can help keep Patagonia Wild and win prizes at the same time! To TAKE ACTION, and be entered for a chance to win an Osprey Atmos or Aura backpack, all you have to do is go here to sign the petition, and then be sure to SHARE it on Facebook or Twitter.
Want more background info? Here’s the scoop on the proposed dam project:
Last year, Chilean officials gave the green light to the HidroAysén project, which would build five mega-dams on two of Patagonia’s wildest rivers. Now, one of the two corporations behind HidroAysén has suspended progress on the project indefinitely. Urge Chilean President Piñera to show environmental leadership at the upcoming Earth Summit by overturning the approval of HidroAysén and saving Patagonia from destruction.
Your willingness to sign the petition in solidarity with the 72% of Chileans who are against damming Patagonia could help save these wild rivers so TAKE ACTION now! And keep in mind, your participation could just win you your very own Osprey pack, as well!
PHOTO Via: Rios Libres
Few landscapes remain as pristine as Patagonia, home to some of the most dramatic landscapes on the planet. Between the striking Andes mountains, the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego and the roaring rivers that wend through the region, Patagonia is a veritable wonderland — a showcase of natural bounty.
Unfortunately, in places where natural wonders abound, humans often find ways to harness the energy behind it all; in the case of Patagonia, its rivers are being eyed — and could be exploited — for their power, literally.
by Chris Kassar via The Cleanest Line
Every time I kneel down next to a river – even if just for a moment – I swear I can hear it speak to me. I know this probably sounds crazy, but I also know I’m not the only one who hears wise murmurs rising from the ripples of wild waters. For many of us, the rhythm of a river can mesmerize our soul, capture our spirit and force us to really stop and listen.
The Baker River, nestled deep in the mountains of Chilean Patagonia, is no different. I spent weeks walking its banks, riding its waves, and crunching through the epic ice fields that feed it. I even floated over the exact spot where its journey as a river ended and it emptied into the sea – a feat in and of itself given that so many rivers, including my very own Colorado, no longer even make it all the way to the ocean. But, this trip from source to sea was much more than just a fun adventure. We – team Rios Libres – immersed ourselves in the landscape so we could arm ourselves with the knowledge needed to join the fight to protect Patagonia’s wildlands and the people who depend on them.
During our excursion, the mighty Baker spoke volumes and gave us a glimpse into what the world used to be like – full of untamed lands, untouched rivers, intact forests and people who depended on the land and each other to survive. Spending a month at the edge of the world was like traveling back in time to an age when things were simpler and nature remained largely unaltered by the trappings of man.
Unfortunately, the experience we had may not be available for future generations unless we raise our voices and speak for the river. Huge walls of concrete threaten to choke the furious turquoise flow of Chile’s most voluminous river, the Baker and its rugged sister, the Pascua. If allowed, big business will ruin pristine old-growth forests, destroy the gaucho culture and silence the beautiful sound of these waters only to replace them with the disheartening din of ‘civilization’ – bulldozers, power lines, reservoirs and dams… all to provide power for the destructive mining industry in the north.
But this doesn’t have to happen. Perhaps, if we could just sit and listen more carefully, we might hear the river speak and fully grasp the idea that it is more important to protect the river’s power than harness it. Chile has the opportunity to learn from mistakes made in the past; they can act as a model for the rest of the world by seeking alternatives that allow them to gain energy independence while still maintaining the character of Patagonia.
We’ve written about this in the past and our team made an award-winning film called Power in the Pristine that documented our source-to-sea adventure and highlighted the various threats to the region.
So why are we writing now? We’re writing because this fight is far from over and we need your help in giving this river and its people a voice once again. A lot has happened over the past year and it seems that the wild character of the entire region – which was once endangered – is now closer to extinction than ever before. The following video will catch you up on the issue. We hope it inspires you to read on and to act. The river speaks and so can you!
Synopsis of recent happenings: In May 2011, the government approved the dams. Tens of thousands of Chileans took to the streets in opposition and six weeks later, the Court temporarily halted all construction due to a pending appeal. This was especially significant since the Court was the only Chilean authority to challenge the project since its inception in 2008. However, in October, the Chilean appeals court ruled in favor of the dam project causing the volley to continue as opponents who want to protect this unique environment brought their challenge to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, the project still requires a permit for more than 1,250 miles (2,000-km) of transmission line to carry the 2,750 megawatts generated from deep in southern Patagonia to the capital Santiago. Earlier this week (Dec. 5), HidroAysen – the company behind the dam project – released initial plans for the powerline and the environmental analysis will begin in March 2012.
Clearly, the fight to protect Chile’s pristine rivers and wildlands is not over; protests continue and polls show that over 74% of Chileans oppose the dams. This Saturday, December 10, thousands will return to the streets in Coyahique and other cities in Chile to show the government that they oppose this decision. If you cannot make the event in Chile, please show your solidarity by taking action through these groups:
- Rios Libres: Join the ‘virtual march’ to keep Patagonia Wild!
- NRDC: Tell Chile’s President to stop the HidroAysén project from destroying Patagonia (Learn more)
- International Rivers: Demand Democracy for Chile – NO to HidroAysén!
The river speaks and so can you!
For more info go to: www.rioslibres.com.
At the southernmost end of the Americas lies wild Patagonia, a still unexplored land of legendary natural beauty. Vast expanses of open space stretch out in all directions. A curious geological past has shaped this varied and dynamic landscape. Bordering the fjords of the Pacific coast, the world’s largest extrapolar icefields contain some of the region’s most impressive peaks, while to the east, the windswept steppes stretch out to the Atlantic coast. Glacier-fed rivers, full of some of the world’s purest water, tumble between jagged, never-climbed mountains. Herds of long-necked guanacos gallop across expansive grasslands as Andean condors, one of Earth’s most massive birds, soar overhead.
Six years ago, Conservacion Patagonica launched its most ambitious project yet: the creation of Patagonia National Park in the Aysen Region of southern Chile. When complete, this 650,000-acre expanse of grasslands, wetlands, mountains and rivers will secure permanent protection for an ecologically critical region of Patagonia. Spanning the Jeinimeni and Tamango Mountains and the Chacabuco Valley, the future park will mark a new chapter in Patagonia’s history: from failed sheep ranching to conservation and ecotourism. Simultaneously, the park will counter some of the threats to Patagonia, including desertification, habitat loss and industrial development.
The vision of an expansive wilderness area in Patagonia, where flourishing ecosystems support healthy populations of all native species, where visitors deepen their appreciation of wildness, and where ecotourism and eco-education help local communities thrive, inspires us. It’s a bold vision, but protecting the Earth’s last wild places and diversity of life demands that we think and act big.
One threat especially, requires bold action from not only the community in Patagonia, but the global community as a whole. Together, we must stop the proposed damming of Patagonia’s Baker and Pascua rivers. via Conservacion Patagonica:
Patagonia Sin Represas, the campaign that began in Cochrane as a small grassroots movement to oppose HidroAysén’s plan for five mega-dams, had blossomed into a series of large-scale demonstrations that swept through Chile’s major cities in May and June…
Yet despite these legal advances and the outpouring of opposition to the dams, HidroAysén has managed to push its project forward through the impressive series of obstacles the opposition has thrown in its path…
But the battle is far from over. From here, the case will go to the Chilean Supreme Court. So it seems there is still a chance to turn this roadblock into a dead end for the dams. For those who wish to stand in solidarity with the Sin Represas movement, the best advice is simple: don’t give up. From what we’ve seen so far, public opposition from both in and outside of Chile has been the strongest force in delaying HidroAysén’s agenda. Whether taking to the streets in Santiago, raising awareness about this unfinished story, or engaging in the growing dialogue around Chile’s need for alternative energy.
TAKE ACTION HERE.
Patagonia is one of those places that we cannot tame. It’s identity lies in its wildness. And it’s up to all of us to protect it.
Learn more about this special place and how you can protect it here.
Rios Libres at Mountainfilm: Spoken Word + Multimedia Performance by Craig Childs, Timmy O’Neill + More!
At Mountainfilm? Don’t miss a very special performance tonight by Craig Childs, Timmy O’Neill and others in the Rios Libres crew.
This will be a powerful multi-media performance. Master wilderness story-teller Craig Childs, backed up by an all-star band consisting of the outlandish and legendary Timmy ONeill on drums and others, will be on stage giving the story behind the scenes for Power in the Pristine, taking you on a journey from ice cap to sea in Chilean Patagonia. This source to sea exploration will give the viewer a visceral sense of what it is like to travel on one of the most remote and beautiful free-flowing rivers in the world that is threatened by a mage-hydroelectric project.
Sheridan Opera House, 9 p.m.
Mountainfilm Festival kicks off this week in our beautiful backyard of Telluride. Currently in its 33rd year, the Mountainfilm Festival is a four-day, six-senses experience of art, adventure, culture and the environment. It attracts filmmakers, photographers, conservationists, mountaineers and explorers from around the world. The theme for this year’s festival is “Awareness Into Action”. It’s amazing to get so many people that are so passionate about important causes together in one place and we’re excited to connect with amazing people and organizations that we support, like Timmy O’Neill, Shannon Galpin of Mountain2Mountain, James Q. Martin and Chris Kassar of Rios Libres, Dan Austin of 88Bikes and Sweetgrass Productions.
Below, we’ve included a couple trailers of films that we’ll be watching at this year’s festival.
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The spirit celebrated at the festival may be of a vital eco-system or a fragile one. It may be of an endangered culture or of one courageous soul. It may be of a grassroots sustainability movement, the struggle of a species on the brink of extinction or captivation of the pure spirit of adventure. In whichever case, it is always a spirit that is unique, important and eminently laudable.
Along with thought-provoking, inspiring conversations, Mountainfilm Festival is packed with some killer events! Visit the Mountainfilm website for details and check back here, we’ll be live-blogging throughout the festival.
I am always open for a language lesson, often needing to express myself to audiences the world over. And since I was addressing 500+ Chileans later that night, Mateo and his girlfriend Fran, painstakingly taught me the subtle differences between ‘cuatico’, ‘filete’, ‘hueon’ and ‘po’. All useful words, slang of course, and I listened attentively during an impromptu training.
I was in Santiago for a screening of two films, 180º South and Power in the Pristine, as well to emcee and play reggae music on stage for 3-nights. It was the 3-day Adventure Film Festival held in the urban gardens of the Cultural Center of Los Condes in Chile’s thriving capital, where almost one third of its 17-million inhabitants live.