ESPAÑOL • ENGLISH
Jóvenes Kayakistas de Patagonia
Un documental acerca un club de kayak de Cochrane, Patagonia, Chile
Los rios de Patagonia Baker y Pascua están hoy amenazado por la construcción de cinco mega represas
Durante los últimos 19 años, El Club Náutico Escualo, (Escualo = Tiberon) un club de jóvenes kayakistas en la remota cuidad de Cochrane, en la Patagonia chilena, le ha enseñado a niños entre 4 y 18 años a remar en kayak por las aguas esmeraldas del río Baker. Durante este proceso de enseñanza, el club promueve la integridad, el trabajo en equipo y el amor por la naturaleza. Actualmente el río Baker se encuentra amenazado por la construcción de dos megarepresas que destruirían el río y una de las cuatro áreas silvestres más maravillosas de la tierra, al mismo tiempo que alteraría considerablemente la ciudad de Cochrane y la vida de los Escualos.
THE EFFORT TO PROTECT THE RIVERS
BACKGROUND OF PROPOSED DAMS
Consejo de Defensa de la Patagonia (CDP, Patagonia Defense Council) a broad coalition of citizens, community groups, and national and international NGOs working to protect Patagonia from destructive development. 1 Below are a few of the orginizations that have been working to protect the rivers. Please visit the links for more information.
Club Náutico Escualo, Grand Canyon Youth & Weston Boyles Productions are not affiliated with the
Natural Resource Defence Council (NRDC), International Rivers (IR), or Patagonia Sin Represas programs, projects or websites.
1 Source International Rivers Berklee Lowry-Evans
Hidroaysen, an Italian-Chilean partnership, has proposed a series of 5 dams to be built in Chilean Patagonia on two of the country’s largest rivers, the Baker and the Pascua. The region where these rivers are located, known as Aysén, is home to some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world, including the north and south Patagonian glacier fields, which are surrounded by pristine mountain environments, dry steppes and temperate rain forests that plunge into the Pacific Ocean. Endless fjords, lakes, rivers, and valleys are found within Aysén, and much of its territory continues fairly unexplored and protected under national parks and forest reserves. About 100,000 people inhabit this land of 107,000 square kilometers making Aysén one of the least populated and industrialized landscapes on earth. It is also the third largest freshwater reserve in the world and some of the most unpolluted waters on the planet flow through its territory. Ultimately, water is what defines the beauty of this region.
The impacts from these dams would forever change the essence of Chilean Patagonia, gradually transforming this remote wilderness and the small communities that depend on it into an industrialized zone. Construction of all five dams would take over ten years, requiring new roads, airports, ports, landfills, large machinery, trucks and thousands of workers brought from the outside world along with the ills associated with them, such as prostitution, drugs and alcoholism, which would disrupt what makes life in small Patagonian towns safe and healthy.
If built, these dams would also require the construction of a major transmission line over 1,600 miles long from Aysen to Chile’s capital, Santiago. Over 4,0000 supporting towers, each 150 feet tall would impact thousands of acres of private and public lands, including Chile’s most valuable national parks that continue to attract millions of visitors every year.
Chile’s Environmental Protection Agency, Conama, has recently granted Hidroaysen the initial authorization to initiate construction of the dams, subject to multiple conditions that have been deemed insufficient by the environmental groups and the NGO community. In addition, the campaign to stop the dams, through its main organization known as Council for the Defense of Patagonia, CDP, has challenged Conama’s decision due to a number of illegal actions and political favors that have tainted the agency’s ability to deliberate in a fair and democratic manner. Both, public participation and appropriate risk assessments, have suffered as result of these illegalities and now the final decision rests with Chile’s Supreme Court, which is expected to resolve the matter within the next few months. If ruled in favor of the company the campaign will continue to act on multiple fronts by presenting new legal arguments, challenging unfair and discriminatory allocation of water rights, requesting the intervention of international bodies that oversee many of Chile’s international accords, and expanding public support in Chile and abroad against the dams, a critical component in this effort to protect Patagonia. The majority of Chileans, 74%, oppose the construction of these dams and believe that Chile has the opportunity to meet its energy demands in a far more sustainable way. Today, the country has enormous potential for new energy in the form of renewables, conservation and efficiencies but such solutions have been lagging behind due to a lack of political will to move energy policy in the right direction. Geothermal, solar and wind, coupled with efficiencies in the industrial, mining and residential sectors are the way of the future and a tangible solution for the country’s future energy needs. As public awareness continues to grow they realize that damming Patagonia is not in the best interest of Chile and that other solutions are possible. -Daniel Gonzalez, Chilean enviromentalist
Ambassadors of Patagonia:
Roberto Haro Contreras is ahead of his time. Cochrane is a frontier town 7 hours south on a dirt road south of Coyhaique, the capital of the remote region of Aysén. Sport, especially extreme sport is new to the local people. In 1999, Roberto saw a German kayaking on the Baker and was inspired by what he saw and asked the man for some lessons. He proceeded to get some friends interested and they began to look for funding for kayaks and gear. Over the course of the first year they had taught themselves how to kayak by reading books and through lots of trial and error. Given a small amount of funding from the local government, Roberto was able to set up Club Náutico Escualo and he and Claudia began teaching kids how to kayak. Over the years, the club has pieced together equipment from various sources. Each year the club has become more popular, as kids start at younger ages and parents feel more comfortable about letting their kids go kayaking.
Kayaking has now become the hot thing to do if you’re a kid from Cochrane. The catch is that the kids can’t kayak if they’re not getting good grades in school. This motivates the kids to study hard so that they can get they hang with the kayakers and get their adrenaline fixes. From this motivation and their contact with the natural environment the kayakers are engaging young spokespersons for the Baker River and the sounding region.
Amid widespread protests, 74% Chilean citizen opposition to the dams, and great public acrimony, we discovered a positive story about local youth that will be directly impacted by the dams. Professor Roberto Haro Contreras and his wife Claudia Altamirano, the directors of Club Nautico Escualo, have over the past 12 years created a remarkable organization that brings together the community of Cochrane, Chile, encourages athletic and academic achievement among its members, and forges a bond with the natural environment. The members, ranging in age from 4 to 18, offer their thoughts on the importance of the club and the Río Baker in their lives and leave us with a powerful argument for why the dams in Patagonia should not be built.
MAS ACERCA DE LAS REPRESAS PROPUESTAS
En tour con WSFF
¿QUE PUEDE HACER?
Nuestro programa piloto de intercambio busca traer a un grupo de jóvenes estudiantes y kayakistas de Aysén al gran cañon del rio Colorado, en donde se reunirán con estudiantes norteamericanos y juntos participarán en un taller intensivo de dos semanas en el Gran Cañon. En la segunda parte de este programa, el grupo de estudiantes de Estado Unidos viajará a la Patagonia Chilena para visitar los ríos prístinos y hoy amenazados, Baker y Pascua. El río Colorado fué represado en 1963; los estudiantes trabajarán con científicos, ingenieros, biólogos, hidrólogos, y expertos ambientales para aprender acerca de los impactos de la represa en Glen Canyon sobre el río Colorado y su ecosistema. Los ríos Baker y Pascua podrían sufrir el mismo destino: la pérdida de un río por la generación hidroeléctrica. El programa de intercambio Ríos a Rivers ofrecerá la oportunidad a los estudiantes para aprender sobre dos ríos: estudiantes de Aysén observarán en forma directa los daños asociados a una mega-represa; los estudiantes de Estados Unidos aprenderán sobre ríos en un estado natural y lo que está en juego en Patagonia.
LOS ESCUALOS: Jóvenes Kayakistas de Patagonia EN TEATROS:
Colorado Environmental Film Festival • Golden, CO, February 21st - 24th, 2013
Backcountry Film Festival • Colorado Rocky Mountain School Barn • Carbondale, CO • December 15th, 2012 • All proceeds go to Rios to Rivers
Berg Abenteuer Film Festival Graz • Grazer Congress • Graz, Austria • November 15th 2012 • 3:00pm
Ríos to Rivers Fund Raiser • Momentum Adventure Center • Salt Lake City, Utah • October 25th, 2012 • 7:00 pm
Ríos to Rivers Fund Raiser • Colorado Rocky Mountain School Barn • Carbondale, Colorado • November 1st, 2012 • 6:00pm
BANFF Mountian Film Festival in Santiago • Santiago, Chile • October 6th, 2012 • 8:00pm
Río to Rivers Fund Raiser • David Brower Center • Berkeley, California • September 19th, 2012 • 6:00pm
Portillo, Chile Special Screening • Portillo, Chile • August 18th, 2012 • 6:30pm
Ushuaia Festival Internacional de Cine de Montaña • Ushuaia, Argentina • August 16th - 19th, 2012
New Zealand Mountain Film Festival • Wanaka, New Zealand • July 8th 2012
Awareness Film Festival • Los Angels, CA • May 6th 2012 @ 11:30am
Aspen Shorts Fest • Aspen, CO • April 11th 2012 @ 8:30 pm
American Documentary Film Festival • Palm Springs, CA • April 4th 2012 @ 7:00 pm
Adventure Film Festival Chile • Santiago, Chile • March 31st @ 8:00pm
Durango Independent Film Festival • Durango, CO • February 29th 2012 @ 10:00 am
National Paddling Film Festival • Frankfort, Kentucky • February 25th 2012 @ 6:45 pm
Frozen River Film Festival • Winona, MN • January 29th 2012 @ 10:00am
Wild & Scenic Film Festival • Nevada City, CA • January 14th @ 10:00am & January 15th 2012 @ 2:30pm
Special Screening at Middlebury College • Middlebury, VT • December 1st 2011, 7:30pm
Santiago • Puerto Varas • Pucon • Talca • Torres del Paine • Puerto Natales • San Pedro de Atacama
River Runner Film Festival & Silent Auction for Grand Canyon Youth • Flagstaff, AZ • November 5th 2011 5:00pm - 11:00pm