Patagonia have launched a big fight to avert what they say could be the next environmental crisis in Europe.
The U.S. outdoor brand are concerned about the proposed construction of 3,000 hydropower projects across the Balkan Peninsula and have released a multimedia campaign to draw attention to the issues that could come about as a result.
According to the brand and its NGO campaign partners, new hydropower construction projects between Slovenia and Albania are threatening to destroy the richly diverse culture, history and ecology of the region known as the Blue Heart of Europe. Through 'hydropower propaganda', these energy projects are sold by big construction businesses and corrupt politicians as being 'green' and 'clean' when in fact, they're far from it – with both the immediate and long term damage far outweighing any benefits. And the bulk of the funding from them comes from international banks.
In a new documentary called Blue Heart which was released this month, Patagonia show the local activists fighting to save their homes and the rivers and lands that define them. We see the battle to protect Albania’s Vjosa River, the largest undammed river in Europe; the effort to save the endangered Balkan Lynx in Macedonia, and the months-long fight by women of Kruščica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, who are protesting day and night to save their community’s only source of drinking water.
Watch The Trailer For Blue Heart
“I believe this wild place requires and deserves protection,” said Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard. “It’s a waste of money and a moral travesty that some of the world’s largest financial institutions have embraced this outdated and exploitative technology and are financing new dams in some of the last wild places in Europe. This is a fight too important to ignore.”
Patagonia, along with NGO partners, are asking concerned citizens around the world to sign a petition to stop the funding of these dams and to help protect the last wild rivers of Europe.
Head to the interactive Blue Heart website for more information about the campaign and to sign Patagonia's petition.