Patagonia launch campaign to protect Balkan rivers

Filed under:

Conservation, News

Patagonia have launched their biggest ever European conservation campaign, “Save The Blue Heart of Europe”, with a website and petition to protect Europe’s last wild rivers from devastating hydropower projects.


The campaign aims to raise global public awareness about the massive scale and long-term negative impact of the recent boom in hydropower projects in the Balkans region, from Slovenia to Albania, the facts of which are staggering:
  • 3,000+ hydropower dams are being planned or built in the Balkans — disrupting Europe’s last free flowing rivers and threatening communities and wildlife.
  • Millions of people are being displaced by hydropower dams globally. These same dams are also sending species to extinction and contributing to climate change.
  • 91% of these planned projects will generate little energy — below 10 megawatts — despite being extremely expensive to build and to maintain.

Patagonia is joining with local communities and NGOs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Macedonia to put pressure on foreign developers and banks that are pouring over €700 million to fund the dam-building projects—this according to the Bankwatch report which is released globally today [16 March]. One third of the dams and diversions are planned within sensitive protected areas including 118 in national parks. If this fierce local opposition fails, communities will be displaced and the last undammed watersheds on the continent will be irreversibly damaged.

Patagonia’s Blue Heart website features this endangered and forgotten region and details why hydropower dams are dirty technology that don’t belong in the green energy mix. Patagonia, along with NGO partners, is asking concerned citizens around the world to sign the petition to stop the funding of these dams and protect the last wild rivers of Europe.

While the movement to decommission deadbeat dams and shift to truly clean energy is growing worldwide, the number of proposed projects in the Balkan region has doubled since 2015. Ninety-one percent of the proposed dams and diversions will provide very little energy and are extremely expensive to build and maintain. Because of their size, they require no environmental impact assessment.

Patagonia’s feature-length documentary Blue Heart will launch in April 2018. In the meantime, you can view the trailer here:

Leave a Comment