October 23, 2017

Damned over the dam

Letter published in The Guardian on Saturday 3 July 1999.

Brian Wilson (“Dam Cheek”, the Guardian, 1 July 1999) refuses to publish the facts on the Ilisu dam – the excuse being commercial confidentiality. If it is the law that the interests of any large company has precedence over social, ecological and moral imperatives, then the law must be changed.

The hostility of environmental groups to big dams, especially in tropical and sub-tropical areas, is based on comprehensive research. The study which I co-authored, The Social and Environmental Effects of Large Dams, documents how tens of millions of people have been forced off their lands and how they either end up as casual labourers or as refugees. This alone makes nonsense of Mr Wilson’s contention that dams provide a means of fighting poverty.

Edward Goldsmith.

Co-editor, The Ecologist.

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