GEOG 302 Lecture 6: 11-geog 302

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23 Jul 2016
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- Zipingpu dam holds 315 million tonnes of water near a fault line- possible cause of Sichuan
earthquake in 2009. China has 26,000 dams- but now scaling back. The Three Gorges Dam holds lots
of toxic sludge (released when dams ‘die’- about 60 years)
- The Aswan High Dam across the Nile River in Aswan, Egypt- has loss of sediment (rich soils),
increase in soil salinity and waterlogging.
- Reasons for creating dams: economic, social, political reasons…money taken from World Bank. But
countries can often find it difficult to pay back loans. Many dams only get built half way. Other
negative effects of include social unrest.
- The average amount of water each person needs per year (food, clothes, industrial use etc) is 1385
cubic meters.
o Canadians use almost twice that amount
o If we export too many things that have water (fruits, food, etc)- we will never get it back. An
example is Israel. ‘Virtual water’ export
- ‘Where water naturally is, is there because it is most efficient for the biosphere to circulate’- we
have very little about the outcomes of messing with the hydrosphere.
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There has only been one case in Canada where an EIA was able to stop a project- the Digby Quarry in Nova
Scotia.
NAFTA chapter 11: corporations can sue the government if the government’s actions adversely affect their
investments. Governments can be sued for money that they (corporations) put in the project, or the money they
might have made if the project was in existence.
Although EIAs have many downfalls (ex. Punishments are not severe enough), they play a large role in changing
the public’s mind about projects and their environmental effects.
Excesses of industrial farm system cause us (Quebec) to have more hogs than people. The hog industry is an
example of the ‘wrong’ way to raise/manage food- pollution of water, animal cruelty, low quality and
contaminated food, easy virus transmission (pigs and humans share similar genetic information), poisonous
gases, diseases (MRSA, flesh eating disease; E Coli), hormones in food, illegal workers, etc
- This also harms smaller companies/lives; those who raise pigs themselves are not allowed to
slaughter pigs (it is a matter of ‘public health’) centralization of the food system
5th Sustainability Principle: all activism is/should be based on scientific research
“Ceiling”- lower level governments that want to have safer laws than the federal govt has thought of
“Floor”- the federal establishes minimum standards; but lower level governments are allowed to have additional
laws
Why do governments set up ceilings and allow pollution? Pressure from corporations. Increase in GDP =/=
increase in wellbeing. Bhutan has instituted the general happiness index- we need to fix our current economic
system. BAU will not do. OECD (organization for economic cooperation and development) secretary general
even says that ‘growth as usual’ is not enough- shift in thinking? Change in the wind?
Any (short term) extractive industry should ask: (most industries are extractive)
- Are there substitutes to this project?
o Example: instead of making a new dam, could we spend money on better insulation?
- Does the industry support vast numbers of people well?
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