From controversial forest clearings for a Brazilian dam to the massive displacement of people by a Chinese hydroelectric project, large-scale hydropower is very far from the benign, renewable resource that some would have us believe it is.
In Kenya and Ethiopia, as Jennifer has already reported, a battle is brewing over the gigantic Gibe III dam that is due to be built in southern Ethiopia. The project is projected to lead to salinization and lowered water tables in Lake Turkana, a crucial body of water for the indigenous tribes that live in the region.
Now a group of artists, musicians and film-makers is hoping to raise awareness of the potential consequences of such a gigantic project. Organizing a music festival featuring international hip hop artists and some of Kenya's biggest musical stars, The Village Beat's "Slumchella" festival (yeah, I wasn't sure about the name either...) will be held at two separate venues—the shores of Lake Turkana, followed by a second night of festivities in the heart of Kariobangi, Nairobi's biggest slum.
The idea, say organizers, is to raise international awareness, and to bring the urban Kenyan population directly into contact with the indigenous tribes whose ways of life are threatened. With the pressures of urbanization and modernization already displacing many indigenous kids, this is a topic of immense importance to the residents of Lake Turkana and Nairobi alike.
What better way to explore it than through music, dance and film?