A group of international campaigners has launched an online petition against Ethiopia’s huge Gibe III dam project.
As a follower of the Kemetic faith, I have always tried to follow its teaching on our duty’s as stewards of our planet and its treasures. As such I was dismayed to hear that yet again the greed of man is about to strike once more. In Ethiopia another of our planets great rivers is to be dammed in order to feed mans insatiable need for power and to profit from its resources with no regard for the both long and short term damage that they will do. When will the worlds banks and industrialist realise that for our planet and its many and varied nations to grow and prosper in harmony with each other these out dated methods must be put aside for much more planet friendly answers. This group wants to put pressure on Western donors and banks not to fund the dam, saying it would destroy the livelihoods of some 500,000 people. The dam is on the Omo River, which flows from southern Ethiopia into Lake Turkana in northern Kenya. Ethiopia’s government says the dam is needed to generate enough electricity for its population and to sell abroad. Yet the question has to be asked here have they really looked at all the other options that would do just as well but inflict much less damage. We have seen a number of governments in this region go for the easy option rather than to take a slightly long rout to achieve their goals which would have a lower in impact on both the planet and its citizens. Construction work is under way on the dam, which would be Africa’s second largest hydro-electric dam, providing some 1,800 megawatts of electricity. ‘Very sensible’ But one of the groups, International Rivers, says the government still needs about $1.4bn (£930m) to finish it. “Gibe III is the most destructive dam under construction in Africa. The project will condemn half a million of the region’s most vulnerable people to hunger and conflict,” said Terri Hathaway, director of International Rivers’ Africa programme. The dam would flood a huge area, creating a 150km-long lake and preventing people from planting their crops on the river’s flood plains, as they have done for many generations. Campaigners also fear that the dam would reduce the flow of water into Lake Turkana, which some 300,000 people depend on. All of which will have a long term effect on the people who are already in such poverty. We can also be sure that the money that will come form this project will not go to those who are most effected by this dam. However, Ethiopia’s government disputes that the overall amount of water would change – they say it would just be a more regular flow throughout the year. Tewolde Gebre Egziabher, head of Ethiopia’s Environmental Protection Authority, has been quoted as saying the project was “very sensible”. “The advantages for the whole country, the local communities around, even for our neighbouring countries – including Kenya -so much more outweigh the small problems that will be caused on an immediate basis but are not long-lasting.” Yet have not all our problems started off small only to grow and grow when not addressed. It can only be hoped that in this case those in power can see the problems that are mounting up like the waters behind their dam waiting to burst through to flood them with greater problems than the have solved. We have to accept that we have only ever been the stewards of this great planet of ours it has never been ours to do as we wish. In antiquity, the people knew this understanding that they had a duty to the planet that gave them life. As mankind drifted away from the old faiths that continued to remind him of this man has tried to move from natures partner to try to become her master. Nature is not to be mastered we only have to look at her awesome power to see that. This is why we have to resist such ideas like this dam and the many others like it. Mankind must return to the partnership with nature to give up the idea that he can be master for the longer he does this the greater the damage will be to the planet therefore to himself.