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The Chilean side of Patagonia is all about water. I ride on a small dirt road with the name Carretera Austral as it twists and turns between lakes, rivers, fjords and waterfalls. The landscape is all water and the nature is all pure. I continuously refill my bottles with drinking water from the streams and it tastes divine. There is no pollution, simply purity. Traffic is minimal and most travelers, who are not cycling, are transporting themselves on foot or by using their thumb. There is only one road, which is connected by ferries across the lakes. On one stretch, the road even narrows down into a single track trail through the forest, where I have to carry and push my bike over and through the streams. Sometimes the water is falling down from the sky and the rain clouds hide the views of this scenic and serene landscape.

When the rain stops and the sky clears I can see all the snow up above on the mountains, with shining glaciers that trickle down into crashing rivers. All this water is planned to be used as clean energy for the country and its capital. Hydropower is renewable and therefor usable in the effort of reducing global warming, but it will also change the local environment. The resistance against the building of dams is visible in the villages and is manifested with stickers on the cars, with posters in the windows, with graffiti on the walls and on billboards on the road. Patagonia Sin Represas, Patagonia without dams, is the anti-dam-slogan as well as the name of the anti-dam-movement. One of the environmental activists tells me that they are worried about the environmental and social damages. The energy and electricity will additionally be transported far away from the people who are getting their forests and farmlands flooded. But even in Santiago, on the other side of the planned transmission line, voices have been raised in protests about the building of dams.

Here, in this forceful landscape of water, there is a conflict between the global climate and the local environment. It is unfortunate that they should be in opposition against one another. When I see pieces of enormous glaciers fall into the lakes of Patagonia I am reminded that the glaciers here are shrinking at an alarming rate. Simultaneously I find it sad to imagine theses lakes to be dammed and doomed. I hope that the politicians, the companies, the activists and the locals will find an entirely green solution, where we don’t have to sacrifice the environment to save the climate.




  1. Anna s.w Saturday, February 11, 2012, at 7:51 PM

    Bra beskrivning av en av alla “miljödilemman”! Härligt kort där du bär cykeln över vattnet!
    kram kram

  2. hanna Saturday, February 11, 2012, at 8:50 PM

    Tack Anna,

    Jag tror dock att det går att finna lösningar där vi både kan bevara miljön och bromsa klimatet, men det blir än mer komplext när vinstintressen, ekonomisk tillväxt och fattigdomsproblematik kommer in.

    Jag träffade en frilansjournalist här som intervjuar mängder av berörda inom regionen och i landet, för att få en bred bild av detta dammdilemma och dess möjligheter. Hon heter Susan Monroe och publicerar sina texter och länkar till sina artiklar på sin hemsida.

    Och fotot är taget av Anne Hoffman .

  3. Deva Munay Thursday, March 1, 2012, at 10:09 AM

    beautiful journey!
    thanks for sharing your wisdom and insights.

  4. hanna Friday, March 2, 2012, at 2:49 PM

    It has been beautiful indeed, thank you for being such a lovely part of it.

    Lots of love to you.

  5. Michelle Saturday, March 3, 2012, at 1:16 PM

    Eres increíble!!
    Felicitaciones, las fotos son hermosas!!

  6. Hanna Sunday, March 4, 2012, at 12:33 PM

    Gracias Michelle, que amable.

    Saludos desde Ushuaia, el fin del mundo y el fin del viaje.

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