Monday, March 22, 2010

Save the world, green Thursday: To Dam or not to Dam

These photos are taken in a dam in Auckland. The stump in the water shows the death of trees when the water floods over the land behind a dam.

You would probably have guessed that I am a pro environmentist and a green activist. I care for the earth and am passionate about what we are doing and not doing to save the earth. Having been married to a water engineer has taken me first hand to many dams in New Zealand. While often it is necessary for dams economically for farmers and drinking water and power supply, it is important that the delicate ecology of the land is not ruin.

In the place of my birth in Borneo, the Rejang River has been proposed to have a dam built in one of the tributaries. The Bakum Dam has attracted international opposition. Once I traveled to another river which had a dam been built. I saw lots of little islands. I asked my guide and she told me that the islands were once hills. People have been dispersed and taught to become fisherman instead of their traditional farming.

Today, on our National TV, I watch as a group of Native Americans come all the way from California to call their salmon to go home. Their salmon are dying out when the Sacramento River was dammed. Our Maori people gave them a warm welcome.
A group of Native Americans have arrived in Christchurch on a spiritual journey which they hope will ultimately result in salmon being re-established back home.

The salmon in their own rivers are dying out but they are thriving in New Zealand after being introduced around a hundred years ago.

Twenty-eight members of the Winnemem Wintu tribe plan to perform a ceremonial dance next week by the Rakaia River to lure the fish back to California.

Tribe members also hope to take some salmon eggs back to California.

The Chinook or Quinnat salmon are native to the Pacific but are in short supply in northern California, mostly due to the damming of the Sacramento River.

For several years, tribe members have highlighted their cause and their connection with the salmon they have lost, but their voices have fallen on deaf ears.

New Zealand's Fish and Game though says they are fully in favour of helping the American tribe to repopulate the Sacramento River with the salmon.

"Some time soon those salmon will come home, when US Fish and Wildlife wake up and realise they are not a foreign fish," Chief Caleen Sisk-Franco of the Winnemem Wintu tribe says.

"It's OK to bring them back to their home waters... It'll be good for everyone."

Fish and Game say once the red tape is sorted out at the American end, exporting fertilised salmon eggs will be easy.


Ensurai said...

The Empurau's cousins are found in India's rivers and are called Masheer. May be the Ibans should go there and call them to go to the Rejang!!

We are losing in many ways in the name of development.

We will never know if we go against nature.
I really like your posting....

Elaine Yim said...

Borneo is a beautiful place, home to so many species of flora and fauna. I wonder how many will be wiped out forever whenever a dam is built.

Maia T said...

We, humans are masters of distraction.
I wish these spiritual dances could be more powerful to restore a part of all bad. I am with you in spirit. Nice post.

Ah Ngao said...

S'kiana just mentioned about the Empurau fish,i think the price of the fish is over-rated.what do you think? some even said,their scales are not to be thrown away,can make into kerepeks.

Unknown said... dam or not to dam...nice posting la Ann, and the pictures are fantastic! Happy week ahead.

Dave said...

Yes Ann, it was as well that these salmon were brought here earlier. Let's hope that the Indian people can successfully reintroduce them back in their native environment - Dave