News Archive LAST UPDATE  June 18, 2008
June 16, 2008 Protect Patagonia – Environmental Action needed now!
There is a place in far southern Chile, in the remote region of Aysén, where the long road south – the famed Carreterra Austral – simply comes to an end. Beyond lies a land where the earthly elements combine in a breathtaking and intimidating mosaic of mountains, glaciers, lakes and fjords.

Home to the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the largest in the world outside of Antarctica and Greenland, the region also boasts one of Chile’s most powerful rivers, the Pascua, which flows from a hidden corner of Lago O’Higgins, South America’s deepest lake (more than 830 meters).
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Few people in the world have ever seen the pristine, 62-kilometer Pascua, which until as recently as 1898 was completely unknown to European settlers. Nor is the river completely anonymous, thanks to a controversial hydroelectric project being planned by Endesa, a Spanish-Italian enterprise, and Colbún, a Chilean energy company owned by the influential Matte family.

This hydroelectric project would do ecological damage to the Aysen region, but do virtually nothing to benefit its varied inhabitants. The proposed system involves transporting hydroelectric power approximately 2000 kilometers north from the Aysen watershed to Santiago via a high-tension transmission line, cutting across and disturbing a great number of national parks and protected areas. Access to this power would be available at the transmission line’s terminus in Santiago, but unavailable to the regions affected by the environmental damage created by building the transmission line.
Local environmental organizations such as CODEFF – Comite Nacional pro-Defensa de la Flora y Fauna, are working hard to protect Patagonia from being the new site of a hydroelectric project that will destroy hundreds of hectares of pristine nature surrounding the river. CODEFF, one of Chile’s oldest environmental organizations, “aims to preserve nature and the environment as well as to promote sustainable development,” by working to enforce and establish legislation to ensure the wise management of Chile’s wilderness areas and natural resources. CODEFF President, Mr Zentilli, stressed the need for Chile to increase energy efficiency rather than energy production, warning that the construction of dams, diversion of rivers, and creation of artificial lakes would create unforeseeable environmental consequences.

Peace Boat continues to work closely with CODEFF to raise awareness about the Patagonia campaign and fundraise for environmental protection activities in Chile. On June 20th and 21st, Parties 4 Peace organizer and Peace Boat staff member, Emilie McGlone, will be holding a fundraising event and DJ Contest called PATAGONICA at Favela in Aoyama. The purpose of the event is to encourage environmental awareness and raise funds to send the winning DJ to Chile to continue the Patagonia campaign with CODEFF. Peace Boat`s 64th global voyage will be visiting Patagonia and will give the participants onboard a chance to have a first-hand look at the beautiful nature that is now endangered by multinational energy companies such as Endesa.

To support the campaign or learn more, contact parties4peace@gmail.com or visit the Parties 4 Peace website www.parties4peace.com