Hydroelectric dams may jeopardize the Amazon’s future

by University of Texas at Austin, June 14, 2017 in Science Daily

Hundreds of built and proposed hydroelectric dams may significantly harm life in and around the Amazon by trapping the flow of rich nutrients and modifying the climate from Central America to the Gulf of Mexico. These findings, published in Nature, emerge from a multidisciplinary, international collaboration of researchers from 10 universities, led by scientists at The University of Texas at Austin.

To meet energy needs, economic developers in South America have proposed 428 hydroelectric dams, with 140 currently built or under construction, in the Amazon basin — the largest and most complex network of river channels in the world, which sustains the highest biodiversity on Earth.


Earth Is Not in the Midst of a Sixth Mass Extinction

by Peter Brannen, June 14, 2017

“It is absolutely critical to recognize that I am NOT claiming that humans haven’t done great damage to marine and terrestrial [ecosystems], nor that many extinctions have not occurred and more will certainly occur in the near future. But I do think that as scientists we have a responsibility to be accurate about such comparisons.”

Many popular science articles take this as a given, and indeed, there’s something emotionally satisfying about the idea that humans’ hubris and shortsightedness are so profound that we’re bringing down the whole planet with us.