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Silenced Rivers: The Ecology and Politics of Large Dams: Enlarged and Updated Edition by Patrick McCully

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Entirely updated in light of the recent World Commission on Dams Report, and responding to it, this new edition of Patrick McCully's now classic study shows why large dams have become such a controversial technology in both industrialized and developing countries. He explores the wide-ranging ecological impacts of large dams, the human consequences, the organization of the dam-building industry, and the role played by international banks and aid agencies in promoting it. He also looks as the extensive technical, safety, and economic problems associated with large dams. New in this edition, the author tells the story of the rapid growth of the international anti-dam movement, and suggests alternative methods of supplying the services supposedly provided by large dams.

Reviews (4)
Great book about dams. It is a very well written book, very informative...perhaps a bit biased against dam construction and benefits of it.
It is a common argument that large dam construction opponents are radical, and are not thinking the "facts" through logically. It is a common argument that these so-called radicals are unconcerned with the greatest common good, and are concentrating on a few tribals and farmers who happened to have their lives destroyed for the sake of benefiting thousands of other lives. Sadly, a majority of people have no idea what the "huge fuss" is concerning large dams. "Why the huge fuss," they ask, "over a few farmers?" These questions are asked by many citizens of the international community. If large dams are helping a developing country move forward in a modern world, why not build more? All over the world, large dams are in the spotlight of international development -- and they haven't arrived there without reason.

A large majority of people movements, protests, and literature that has been written on large dams is seemingly radical. The alleged radical nature of people against large dams prevents the general public from taking the issue seriously. It is also true that many protestors all over the world today do a lot of screaming and shouting about a lot of issues without a rational basis of their own, regardless over whether or not the issue is a significant one. The important thing to remember in spite of this, is that there is a logical bases for arguments against the construction large dams, and McCully does an excellent job of constructing and expressing these arguments.

This book brilliantly highlights the politics behind large dam construction, focusing primarily on the environmental issues surrounding large dam construction, but also brings to light some of the key issues involving the displacement of people. Unfortunately, I do not feel that McCully gives enough attention to alternatives to large dam construction. Overall, however, this book is well worth the read, and serves as an excellent introduction to the topic.
Patrick McCully, author and Executive Director of the nonprofit organization International Rivers, updated the original Silenced Rivers to track recent progress on the impact of dam development internationally. Filled with helpful charts, graphs and tables, the book draws on the vast life experience of McCully and the World Commission on Dams to form an authoritative review of the state of dams and dam policy across the world.

The book covers the well documented but all too controversial fact that tropical dams cause significant global warming -- often at a greater rate than power-equivalent coal plants. The dam decommissioning movement is featured as a way to make the green alternatives McCully proposes a reality. Silenced Rivers focuses on demand side management as a way of reducing energy needs, and new technologies such as Solar, Wind, Microturbines and hydrogen fuel cells to supply sustainable power to the World's burgeoning population.

Throughout the text, people and the environment are kept in focus. Carefully balancing science with social needs, McCully weaves an optimistic, yet decidedly grounded narrative of how to move the international community past the bygone era of big dams to a more just and sustainable energy future.

This book excels at laying out the thousands of inter-related details that go into large dams: their geographic countenance, their economic costs and impact, the public health aspects and more. It makes links between facts that give valuable insight into the global dam market.
Sobering at times, this book also showcases many successes which give hope for a thirsty Earth.

ISBN: 1856499022

Rating: 4.1/5

Votes: 623

Other Formats: azw lrf rtf lit

ISBN13: 978-1856499026

Publisher: Zed Books; Enlarged & Updated edition (December 7, 2001)

Language: English

Subcategory: Social Sciences

Pages: 416

Silenced Rivers: The Ecology and Politics of Large Dams: Enlarged and Updated Edition
Author: Patrick McCully
Title: Silenced Rivers: The Ecology and Politics of Large Dams: Enlarged and Updated Edition