Conservation news

Audio: Global megadam activism and the sounds of nature in Taiwan

On this episode of the Mongabay Newscast, we talk to Sarah Bardeen, the communications director for Berkeley, California-based NGO International Rivers. Bardeen wrote a commentary for Mongabay earlier this year after attending an international gathering of river defenders in Tbilisi, Georgia, one of many countries around the world currently in the grip of a hydroelectric dam-building boom, and we were interested in hearing about what came out of that meeting.

Activists from around the world attended the conference to strategize around stopping what they see as destructive hydropower projects. As Bardeen relates in her commentary, many attendees at the conference have faced harassment, intimidation, and worse for their opposition to dam projects, but they’re still standing strong in defense of free-flowing rivers.

In fact, even as we were recording the interview with Bardeen, 200 indigenous Munduruku people were occupying the São Manoel hydroelectric dam building site in response to the destruction of their sacred sites by previous dam projects along the Teles Pires and Tapajós rivers in the Brazilian Amazon.

We also speak with Yannick Dauby, a French sound artist based in Taiwan. Since 2002, Dauby has been crafting sound art out of field recordings made throughout the small country of Taiwan and posting them on his website, In this Field Notes segment, Dauby plays a recording of his favorite singer, a frog named Rhacophorus moltrechti; the sounds of the marine life of the corals of Penghu, which he is documenting together with biologists; the calls bats use to echolocate (slowed down 16 times so they can be heard by human ears!); and more! Dauby also tells us about how he uses his sound art as an educator to inspire environmental conservation.

Here’s this episode’s top news:

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A Teles Pires River dam construction site. The four dams located there are part of the Tapajós Complex, a series of more than 40 dams to be constructed in the Tapajós Basin as part of the Tapajós Complex, an industrial waterway for moving soy to the Atlantic Coast. Photo courtesy of International Rivers.

Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001

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