October 04, 2020

 

On one of the stormiest days of the year, well over a hundred kayakers, local people and activists gathered in the Oetz valley to protest the Tumpen dam project.

The project has been advancing rapidly throughout the last few weeks and the destruction of the landscape in preparation of the dam is now clearly visible from the road.

Today was the latest of several protests throughout the year against this project and it has been disappointing to see the local community continually ignored and at times, even insulted by their politicians.

Still, disappointing as it may be, it is inspiring to see the continued efforts of Save Our Rivers and The Free Rivers Fund to organise demonstrations against the dam project and to see the local community continually get behind them. It was an honour to stand with you all in the rain today.

To myself it feels like we are flogging a dead horse that need not have died in the first place. Save our rivers have compiled several articles as to why this dam project is not viable, that you can read here.

It’s easy to take things for granted and assume that the things that bring you joy will always be there. The dam currently being built should fortunately not affect any of the many sections that we enjoy on the river but there are more scheduled to be built and the ultimate plan is to divert the water to another valley altogether. Hearing of these hydro projects in this region makes me cherish every lap down these sections of these rivers and encourages me to get it while it’s good, even on days where I am sore, tired and would rather stay in bed.

If there is anything to be realised from this summers lockdown it is that your true wealth doesn’t come from your bank account, what car you drive or how big your house is. It’s what’s just outside your door, in the local area. That’s what is truly important. I hope one day the politicians of Tyrol realise that.

With thanks to everyone for their continued efforts in the fight against this dam,

Bren