“The River, slightly milky from glacial sediment, tumbles down rocky chutes, boils through tight canyons, and glides across beds of agatelike stones. In the distance, poking through storm clouds, are plunging slopes dense with virgin hemlock and fir…Intruding into this primeval scene are two decrepit dams” (Reisner, 382). In this essay by Marc Reisner, his standpoint on the issue of dams is very well seen. Reisner talks of the ecological damages that dams create. The debate over dams has been heated in recent years, their harmful effects and overall abundance is the topic for such debates. But are dams as bad as everyone says they are, do dams do more harm than good, or more good than harm? Emphasis should be placed on comparing the ecological effects verses the economical benefits.
There are many pros and cons for the ecological side of this debate. One pro is that dams help areas that would otherwise be waterless and barren support life. Taken from a pamphlet prepared by the Committee on Public Awareness and Education, “Water is the vital resource to support all forms of life on earth. Unfortunately, it is not evenly distributed over the world by season or location. Some parts of the world are prone to drought making water a scarce and precious commodity, while in other parts of the world it appears in raging torrents causing floods and loss of life and property. Throughout the history of the world, dams and reservoirs have been successfully in collecting, storing and managing water needed to sustain civilization” (CPAE, 1). This is a major benefit to the ecology of the world, as the quote stated water is the basis of life, the human body depends on water for survival. Although ther...
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...to benefit the United States. Even those who oppose dams benefit from them in one way or another, destroying them would give our nation’s economic system a detrimental blow. Finally for the solution for this dilemma, I don’t believe there is an general solution. Each dam should be looked at individually, if the costs outweigh the benefits, then it should be destroyed, and vice versa. The issue of dams will not be easily solved. Ever since the first dam was built there has been controversy, and as long as one stands so will the debate.
McKibben, Bill. Daybreak. In A Forest of Voices: Conversations in Ecology – 2nd Edition (pp. 156-169). Mayfield Publishing Company.
Committee on Public Awareness and Education. (1997, May). Benefits and Concerns About Dams – an Argumentaire. Retrieved March 3, 2003, from http://www.icold-cigb.org/BandC.PDF
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