The number of people displaced by dams is estimated at between 40 million and 80 million, most of them in China and India. The costs of dams were on average 50% above their original estimate. Some designed to reduce flooding made it worse, and there were many unexpected environmental disadvantages, including the extinction of fish and bird species. Half the world's wetlands had been lost because of dams.
From being a dream, dams have become a very cynical corrupt enterprise; a way of letting governments lay their hands on huge sums of money; a way of centralizing resources; a way of snatching rivers away from the poor and giving them to the rich. And so in a sense they've become monuments to corruption.
The flood of photos sweeps away the dams of memory. Never before has a period known so little about itself. In the hands of the ruling society, the invention of illustrated magazines is one of the most powerful means of organizing a strike against understanding... The 'image-idea' drives away the idea.
An unspoiled river is a very rare thing in this Nation today. Their flow and vitality have been harnessed by dams and too often they have been turned into open sewers by communities and by industries. It makes us all very fearful that all rivers will go this way unless somebody acts now to try to balance our river development.
Lyndon B. Johnson
When dams were erected on the Columbia, salmon battered themselves against the concrete, trying to return home. I expect no less from us. We too must hurl ourselves against and through the literal and metaphorical concrete that contains and constrains us, that keeps us from talking about what is most important to us, that keeps us from living the way our bones know we can, that bars us from our home. It only takes one person to bring down a dam.
There are hidden contradictions in the minds of people who "love Nature" while deploring the "artificialities" with which "Man has spoiled Nature.'" The obvious contradiction lies in their choice of words, which imply that Man and his artifacts are not part of "Nature" : but beavers and their dams are.
Robert A. Heinlein
But the sound of water escaping from mill-dams, &c., willows, old rotten planks, slimy posts, and brickwork, I love such things. Shakespeare could make everything poetical; he tells us of poor Tom's haunts among "sheep cotes and mills." As long as I do paint, I shall never cease to paint such places. They have always been my delight.
He wondered what kind of blueprint beavers had for creating such a structure-or did they simply start aimlessly weaving stuff together until they had a dam? Did they even think about creating a dam? Maybe dams were simply accidents that resulted from their fooling around, much like the Army Corps of Engineers' accomplishments.
Patrick F. McManus
I started inventing things, and then I couldn't stop, like beavers, which I know about. People think they cut down trees so they can build dams, but in reality it's because their teeth never stop growing, and if they didn't constantly file them down by cutting through all of those trees, their teeth would start to grow into their own faces, which would kill them. That's how my brain was.
Jonathan Safran Foer
I shall be in Paris in two days. Well, all is finished. The waves of human mediocrity rise to the sky and they will engulf the refuge whose dams I open. Ah! courage leaves me, my heart breaks! O Lord, pity the Christian who doubts, the sceptic who would believe, the convict of life embarking alone in the night, under a sky no longer illumined by the consoling beacons of ancient faith.
Huysmans Joris-Karl Huysmans
The thing the ecologically illiterate don't realise about an ecosystem is that it's a system. A system! A system maintains a certain fluid stability that can be destroyed by a misstep in just one niche. A system has order, flowing from point to point. If something dams that flow, order collapses. The untrained might miss that collapse until it was too late. That's why the highest function of ecology is the understanding of consequences.
When those who had been evicted went back to where they came from, they found their villages had disappeared under great dams and dusty quarries. Their homes were occupied by hunger-and policemen. The forests were filling up with armed guerrillas. They found that the wars from the edge of India, in Kashmir, Nagaland, Manipur, had migrated to its heart. People returned to live on city streets and pavements, in hovels on dusty construction sites, wondering which corner of this huge country was meant for them.
The majority of the people of the world today are unsane, not insane, unsane meaning having been exposed to methods of evaluation that have long rendered obsolete, our language in the future will change to a saner language where we have no argument in it, 'can there be such a language?' there is, when engineers talk to each other, it's not subject to interpretation, they use math, they use descriptive systems, if I interpreted what another engineer said in the way I think he meant it: you couldn't build bridges, dams, power transmission lines. The language has to have meaning
When we talk of flood control, we usually think of dams and deeper river channels, to impound the waters or hurry their run-off. Yet neither is the ultimate solution, simply because floods are caused by the flow of water downhill. If the hills are wooded, that flow is checked. If there is a swamp at the foot of the hills, the swamp sponges up most of the excess water, restores some of it to the underground water supply and feeds the remainder slowly into the streams. Strip the hills, drain the boglands, and you create flood conditions inevitably. Yet that is what we have been doing for years.
Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories. Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity. Especially for girls and women, it is an agent of family health and nutrition. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right.... Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.
Who constitutes the nation? Only the elite?Or do the hundreds of millions of poor in India also make up the nation? Are their interests never identified with national interest? Or is there more than one nation? That is the question you often run up against in some of India's poorest areas. Areas where extremely poor people go into destitution making way for firing ranges, jet fighter plants, coal mines, power projects, dams, sanctuaries, prawn and shrimp farms, even poultry farms. If the costs they bear are the 'price' of development, then the rest of the 'nation' is having one endless free lunch.
She loved sinking into her bed on evenings like this, but apparently she shouldn't, because it worried her aunts, who thought she ought to be out dancing. It worried her a little bit, too, because what if they were right, and because sometimes a great loneliness welled up in her and threatened all the dams she built to hold it back. You couldn't cure loneliness by wallowing in it, up above the world, on an island removed from everything. She knew that. But she had such a hard time with all the cures. They seemed rough and brusque and brutal, as if they abused her skin with a pot scrubber... forcing herself into a mass of people, a stranger among strangers... But it was much more tempting to curl up with a book under her thick white comforter. Still, sometimes after she curled up, she regretted her lack of courage and felt bleakly lonely. It was important to have a really good book.
Isn't there a flaw in the logic of that phrase - speak truth to power? It assumes that power doesn't know the truth. But power knows the truth just as well, if not better, than the powerless know the truth. Enron knows what it's doing. We don't have to tell it what it's doing. We have to tell other people what Enron is doing. Similarly, the people who are building the dams know what they're doing. The contractors know how much they're stealing. The bureaucrats know how much they're getting in bribes. Power knows the truth. There isn't any doubt about that. It is really about telling the story. Good fiction is the truest thing that ever there was. Facts are not necessarily the only truths. Facts can be fiddled with by economists and bankers. There are other kinds of truth. It's about telling the story. As a writer, that's the best thing I can do. It's not just about digging up facts.
The American Society of Civil Engineers said in 2007 that the U.S. had fallen so far behind in maintaining its public infrastructure - roads, bridges, schools, dams - that it would take more than a trillion and half dollars over five years to bring it back up to standard. Instead, these types of expenditures are being cut back. At the same time, public infrastructure around the world is facing unprecedented stress, with hurricanes, cyclones, floods and forest fires all increasing in frequency and intensity. It's easy to imagine a future in which growing numbers of cities have their frail and long-neglected infrastructures knocked out by disasters and then are left to rot, their core services never repaired or rehabilitated. The well-off, meanwhile, will withdraw into gated communities, their needs met by privatized providers.