15 December 2015

Beautiful National Geographic Images of the Lower Mekong in Laos

As plans move forward to develop Don Sahong, a dam designed for hydropower production in the 4,000 Island section of Southern Laos, the international community is taking notice. National Geographic put together some beautiful images depicting the traditional life in the area. Much of this area in Southern Laos is centered on fishing - traps can be found all around the waterfalls. Four thousand islands is an area of the Mekong where the river spreads out rather wide, and includes a number of islands, some large enough for communities of people. Missing from the images are the tourists who descend on 4,000 communities in tank tops, looking to party and play in the river or kayak out to see the river dolphins. The dolphins, Irrawaddy dolphins found only in rivers of Asia, are particularly vulnerable to the changes that will come due to the construction of the dam. Don Sahong is a dam considered controversial and construction was halted for a period of time for the Mekong River Commission to review the plans. Development resumed some months ago. Financing is coming in large part from Malaysia, a regional trade partner.

To Dam or Not to Dam? 12 Photos of the Mekong River

Explore the rapids, waterfalls, and islands of Southeast Asia’s Mekong river.

08 December 2015

Sudanese President Weighs in on Renaissance Dam - calls for cooperation

While Sudan has seen decades of ongoing conflict, when it comes to Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam, President Omar Al-Bashir calls for cooperation. Although the Ahram online article focuses on a contested area between Egypt and Sudan, the article starts with the President's call of attention on the Renaissance Dam continuing in a peaceful cooperative negotiation. A recent article in Al-Monitor suggests problems with negotiations as the three countries ended the 9th round of meetings in Cairo with no clear solution. 

The quotes in the previous Al-Monitor article from prof. Rawia Tafik point to a need for crisis resolution. Personally, I do not see a crisis, I see a continued negotiation. The role of academics is beneficial to the ongoing discourse when we remain objective and unbiased. The time investment the three governments are making is a part of cooperative processes over a shared resource - I do not think anyone wants snap judgement over this delicate matter, nor quick agreements with compromise when so many people's livelihoods are at stake. 

02 December 2015

Renaissance Dam and Xayaburi Dam Displacement Communities Featured on New River Geography Website

My Website's Live! Check It Out
Stories and Portraits from Rivers of Change - I've just launched a new website that features portraits from soon-to-be displaced communities on the Nile and Mekong Rivers as well as my scientific research and publications about water security and geography. 
Travel to Laos in Southeast Asia to remote section of the Mekong River, then journey to Ethiopia in East Africa to the valley where the Gumuz People live and work along the Blue Nile. Two distant and unique cultures, two distinct and iconic rivers...