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Patagonia Employees Protest New Dams In Patagonia, Chile

Patagonia Employees Protest New Dams In Patagonia, Chile

Armed with double boilers, frying pans and casserole pots, 500 employees of Patagonia Inc., an environmentally-minded clothing company, staged a peaceful Chilean-style protest of the Chilean government’s recent approval of five huge dams.

A multi-national energy company hopes to build the dams in the exact area of southern Chile that inspired founder Yvon Chouinard to name the company Patagonia. Considered one of the world’s last, great wilderness areas, this part of Chile has been dubbed an “eco-gem” for its rare fauna, ice-sculptured fjords and almost total absence of industrial development.

By banging their pots and pans together, the Patagona employees helped local protesters stage a successful cacerolazo – a Chilean-style protest developed in the Pinochet era.

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An estimated 30,000-40,000 people first turned out in Santiago, Chile last week against the damming of their rivers. This week, thousands more will converge in Chile to show public opposition. Company officials organized the impromptu gathering because of Patagonia’s long abiding connection to the area that is its namesake.

“This is like building Hoover Dam at the entrance to Yosemite Valley,” said Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia vice president of environmental affairs, who knows the region well, recently spending time there with the making of the movie, 180 South.

“This is not about a North American corporation trying to tell Chile what to do — it’s about asking Chile’s democratically elected government to listen to the majority of its own people when they say there has to be a better way.”

Chilean polls show a whopping 74 percent of citizens oppose construction of the dams and the 1,200 miles of transmission lines needed to carry the electricity to mining operations in the north.

The transmission lines would be held by towers more than 200 feet high. Following a winding corridor almost 400-feet wide, a thousand miles of forest would have to be clear-cut and the rest of the corridor’s path similarly cleared. The corridor would intersect 64 communities and 14 protected areas. It would divide endangered forests and some of Chile’s most spectacular national parks. It would also open up rivers north of Patagonia to more dam building. 

Sign The Petition: Keep Patagonia Wild!

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Read more: , , , , , , , ,

Patagonia Inc. Publicly Protests the Creation of Dams in Patagonia, Chile. (PRNewsFoto/Patagonia)

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5:42PM PDT on Aug 10, 2014

Victory! The dam was stopped.

12:07PM PDT on Jun 9, 2011


9:51AM PDT on Jun 9, 2011

Good for them .. I hope we can help :O) Petition signed

9:50AM PDT on Jun 9, 2011

Good for them .. I hope we can help :O) Petition signed

12:36PM PDT on Jun 7, 2011

I am a Chilean citizen. I appreciate all the comments above. The planet belongs to all of us,we have to take care of what is remaining.. Chile has woods that no human beeing has step on their soil. Thanks all for your concern,but it is yours too,so ,please keep on fighting this huge capitals, huge amounts of money is involved on this awful project.

7:23PM PDT on Jun 6, 2011

Good on them, if I could I would be standing next to them!

9:32AM PDT on Jun 6, 2011

Major projects like this proposed dam always have horrible environmental and other side effects. Look at the huge Aswan dam in Egypt that flooded villages and historic Egyption ruins. It also had huge environmental impacts that might be irreperable.

5:11AM PDT on Jun 6, 2011

The dam should not be constructed!

3:32PM PDT on Jun 5, 2011

Will we ever learn from history?

8:27PM PDT on Jun 4, 2011

thanks for sharing.

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