The arguments against the dam can and should be politically astute, economically viable, practical.
But beneath those necessary arguments remains a visceral reaction to an 80-story windowless concrete skyscraper blasted into the heart of what once was considered sacred by all people anywhere and everywhere. Not one of our original ancestors, no matter what our ancestry, ever viewed the earth as other than sacred. It was who we were, all of us, how we saw the world, what we felt about lands we lived amidst when we wore skins and pushed deeper into magical unknown realms now called “France” or “Peru” or “Kansas City” to then either stay in wondrous gratitude for the
fecundity or explore even further until finding home. Yes, that was all tens of thousands of years ago, but it’s who we have been, all of us, all us real human beings. And it’s who we still are. Biological evolution doesn’t allow those basic hard-wired instincts to be completely removed from our genomes in a few generations after thousands of generations of hard-wiring. We’re connected to the earth. Still. Even Adam and Eve were in awe of their Garden until they thought, “Hmm. Maybe we can make it better.”
So much fear has resulted from how we have taken charge of the known world that frantic has become our modus operandi. If we need lots of electricity, let’s build the biggest source of electricity ever! Just to feel safe! Just to quell anxiety! But loosing nuclear power plants and crushing great rivers just makes more problems.
The weird thing is that actual representatives of Homo sapiens whose evolutionary biology predisposes them to awe of and gratitude for sustaining land can actually chopper in to a proposed dam site amidst vast unbroken wilderness and say, “Yup, that rock’ll hold 80 stories of concrete no problem” as opposed to a whispered, “My god. Do you feel this?” But it’s not that they don’t get it, don’t feel the resonance with 40,000 years of the sacred, don’t catch their breaths. They just assume that one area made profane won’t alter the grander design of the earth’s sustenance. Which is crazy. Now. After having subsumed most of the planet beneath our designs.
The truth of this perspective does make some people defensive. “I want me and my kids to have enough of what we need! There’s nothing wrong with that!”
In fact. For generations to come. For at least as many generations as have already been.