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Criminalization & violent targeting of activists are recurrent features among allegedly sustainable hydropower projects, says new study

Author: Daniela Del Bene, Arnim Scheider & Leah Temper, Sustainability Science, Published on: 1 May 2018

"More dams, more violence? A global analysis on resistances and repression around conflictive dams through co-produced knowledge," 12 April 2018

…Despite well-known controversial, social, and environmental impacts of dams, efforts to increase renewable energy generation have reinstated the interest into hydropower development globally. People affected by dams have largely denounced such ‘unsustainabilities’ through collective non-violent actions. Nevertheless, we found that repression, criminalization, violent targeting of activists and assassinations are recurrent features of conflictive dams... We argue that increasing repression of the opposition against unwanted energy infrastructures does not only serve to curb specific protest actions, but also aims to delegitimize and undermine differing understanding of sustainability, epistemologies, and world views. This analysis cautions that allegedly sustainable renewables such as hydropower often replicates patterns of violence within a frame of an ‘extractivism of renewables’… [suggesting] that co-production of knowledge between scientists, activists, and communities should be largely encouraged to investigate sensitive and contentious topics in sustainability studies. [Full article available with paid subscription.]

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