We've come up with creative ways to fight these bad projects -- we target the financiers, the governments, the companies. We work with local residents to publicize their stories, support their struggle and win them a place at the table so they have a say over decisions that could change their lives.
The one most important thing that we can do to set them free, free to provide this incredible, abundant resource for us and for the creatures with whom we share this planet, is to take down some dams that no longer serve our communities. And with well over 75,000 dams across America, there are a good number that fall into that category.
The member states of the World Heritage Committee have so far declined to declare Lake Turkana a World Heritage in Danger. They have instead asked the Ethiopian government to avert the destruction of Lake Turkana by carrying out a strategic environmental assessment of the projects in the Omo Valley. Yet so far, the Ethiopian government has thumbed its nose at the UN body.
Sustainable water and energy development requires public participation in decision making just as much as money and technical expertise. The Nature Conservancy makes a strong case that smart planning needs to address the systems level rather than just individual dams. It now needs to expand its approach and give the rights of affected communities the place they deserve.
Once again, Goldman Prize awardees embody how single, determined individuals across the world can mobilize enough groundswell to conquer industrial Goliaths. Hailing from diverse backgrounds, these 2015 superheroes form a fountain of inspiration for all of us, and their weblinks show how we can act.
It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that for the World Bank and other financiers, poor people who stand in the way of their projects literally don't count. Time and again, the World Bank has demonstrated that it is not able to resettle people fairly. It should stop displacing people involuntarily in its projects.
By empowering poor farmers, reviving traditional knowledge and building small rainwater ponds, Indian activist Rajendra Singh has brought five rivers and a thousand villages back to life over the past 30 years. On August 26, Sweden's King Carl Gustav will present the highly reputed Stockholm Water Prize to the rainwater pioneer.
Floods and droughts in many parts of the world are getting ever more frequent and intense. Scientists have long warned that a changing climate is making such weather events more extreme. What is often neglected in the public debate is that the impacts of climate change on flood and drought disasters are exacerbated by environmental destruction.
The Chinese river dolphin has disappeared before our eyes within only two generations. Will we change course before other branches on the tree of life die off? It would be foolish to assume that we can somehow maintain our prosperity and our very future without the rich biodiversity on Planet Earth.
Voters should not expect immediate relief from Proposition 1 for the impacts of the current drought; nor should they expect these funds to be the last investment that is needed for better institutions, smarter planning, and more effective water management strategies. It can be, at best, a down payment on our water future.