We are a team of adventurers, filmmakers, and writers committed to keeping Patagonia wild. The region’s two major rivers, the Baker and the Pascua are threatened. Chilean-European conglomerate HidroAysén has proposed 5 major dams that would fragment and permanently degrade the diverse, enigmatic ecosystems of Patagonia. And, the environmental travesty wouldn't end there. The proposal also involves building the world’s longest transmission line, one that would lacerate the country, cutting across private lands, wilderness areas, and the Chilean equivalent of national parks. So we took action, and since 2010 we’ve been documenting the stunning beauty of pristine Patagonia, developing inspirational films and media and tipping the scales in favor of conservation. With 74% of Chileans now expressing opposition to the dams, we are continuing to raise awareness and show support so that we can finish this fight to protect Patagonia's untouched lands.
‘Power in the Pristine,’ our first film came out in 2010 chronicles the journey of team Rios Libres, led by athlete Timmy O’Neill and writer Craig Childs, on an adventure tracing the Rio Baker from source to sea. Immersed in the remote culture of Chilean Patagonia, we were able to film compelling interviews with the people who are directly threatened by the proposal. LINK
‘Streams of Consequence,’ our second film was released in January of 2013. In April of the previous year, co-founder James Q Martin ('Q') traveled south once again and landed in the midst of massive anti-dam protests. He captured outstanding footage of the protests, spending nine weeks traveling the length of the country talking to gauchos, scientists, activists and the public in search of answers. The result was ‘Streams of Consequence’- a solution-based film that addresses the hard questions: “What does an alternative energy model look like?” and “Could Chile become a global leader by gaining energy independence via green technology?” LINK
‘Rios Libres - Environmental Dispatches’ A short video series that highlights four different aspects of the fight against five proposed dams in Chile’s Patagonia region. In partnership with National Geographic, NRDC, and International Rivers.
If allowed to proceed this catastrophic project would involve:
Two dams on the Rio Baker, Chile’s longest and highest flowing river
Three dams on the Rio Pascua, Chile’s third highest flowing river.
Clear-cutting 1,600 km (1000 mi) of old-growth forest
- Building the longest transmission line in the world, over 2,450 km (1,500 mi)
Why It Matters
Chilean Patagonia is a remote region of the world where nature, long left to its own devices grows wild, beautiful and largely untouched by man. As South America’s last frontier, the region boasts incredible biodiversity, breathtaking landscapes, and a remote solitude that is increasingly rare in our burgeoning world. Dappled with pristine lakes, jagged peaks, ancient glaciers, rushing rivers, coastal rainforests and dry grasslands, the area’s diversity is striking and its magnificence unmatched. The protection of this global treasure is an issue that transcends national boundaries, and as citizens of an increasingly globalized community we have a responsibility to show our support for the people of Chile in their fight to protect Patagonia The project proposed by HidroAysén would irrevocably damage this entire region. Chile is a country rich in natural resources, and renewable energy alternatives. This is an opportunity for Chile to stand as a global leader in responsible energy, if we help the people win the fight.
Why We Must Act NOW
In the last few months there have been a lot of major updates surrounding the campaign. Chile’s current president, Sebastian Piñera, who is notorious for his support of the dams is nearing the end of his term. Although it seems Piñera has been distancing himself from HidroAysén, his administration has been trying to fast track two laws, coined ‘las leyes de HidroAysén' (laws of HidroAysén). These laws would provide a legal loophole to approve the construction of the world’s longest transmission line. The dams have already been approved, but the transmission line has not yet been approved. If these laws pass, the project would be able to move forward and the construction of the dams would begin. We must act now to prevent this from happening.
photo by james q martin
Rios Libres: Continuing to Fight
In 2014, we aim to broaden our international outreach by bringing our films on tour throughout Chile. The film tour will raise awareness and will serve as a platform to host thought-provoking, solution-based discussions that include local experts from each region we visit. We intend to empower people to take action by showing support for the existing Chilean effort and by helping people realize that Chile can act as a global leader in responsible energy development. We hope to demonstrate that they are not alone in the fight to protect these precious rivers.
In addition to the film tour, we will be collaborating with Patagonia Inc-sponsored trail runners Krissy Moehl and Luke Nelson to execute an ultra-run from source to sea along the Baker River. The run, which will be completed by late February 2014, will serve as means to document the audacious beauty of the Baker River, from its glacial origins to the place where it meets the sea.
But we can’t do all of this without your help!
Your generous donations will be rewarded with good karma, our undying gratitude, a shout-out on our website, and not to mention some super-cool prizes.