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Creators/Authors contains: "Lopez, Maria Claudia"

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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  3. Nations in the Global South have increasingly embraced large hydropower. Hydropower development typically involves the displacement and resettlement of entire communities and has a range of social and ecological impacts. Some communities become the operational center for the dam construction, as well as host new neighborhoods of resettlers. One of the less-studied impacts of dams is the potential loss of social capital both in resettled and host communities. Here, we ask how the Belo Monte dam in the Amazon is associated with social capital in a resettled group and a non-resettled population that, while not experiencing resettlement, nevertheless was impacted by the dam as well. We use measures of cognitive and structural social capital. Results suggest that resettlers have lower structural social capital across two proxy indicators, whereas the host community has lower cognitive social capital. Future research and social impact assessments should pay more attention to how hydropower impacts both kinds of social capital.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 15, 2023
  4. Abstract

    While there have been efforts to supply off-grid energy in the Amazon, these attempts have focused on low upfront costs and deployment rates. These “get-energy-quick” methods have almost solely adopted diesel generators, ignoring the environmental and social risks associated with the known noise and pollution of combustion engines. Alternatively, it is recommended, herein, to supply off-grid needs with renewable, distributed microgrids comprised of photovoltaics (PV) and in-stream generators (ISG). Utilization of a hybrid combination of renewable generators can provide an energetically, environmentally, and financially feasible alternative to typical electrification methods, depending on available solar irradiation and riverine characteristics, that with community engagement allows for a participatory codesign process that takes into consideration people’s needs. A convergent solution development framework that includes designers—a team of social scientists, engineers, and communication specialists—and communities as well as the local industry is examined here, by which the future negative impacts at the human–machine–environment nexus can be minimized by iterative, continuous interaction between these key actors.

  5. Hydropower has been the leading source of renewable energy across the world, accounting for up to 71% of this supply as of 2016. This capacity was built up in North America and Europe between 1920 and 1970 when thousands of dams were built. Big dams stopped being built in developed nations, because the best sites for dams were already developed and environmental and social concerns made the costs unacceptable. Nowadays, more dams are being removed in North America and Europe than are being built. The hydropower industry moved to building dams in the developing world and since the 1970s, began to build even larger hydropower dams along the Mekong River Basin, the Amazon River Basin, and the Congo River Basin. The same problems are being repeated: disrupting river ecology, deforestation, losing aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity, releasing substantial greenhouse gases, displacing thousands of people, and altering people’s livelihoods plus affecting the food systems, water quality, and agriculture near them. This paper studies the proliferation of large dams in developing countries and the importance of incorporating climate change into considerations of whether to build a dam along with some of the governance and compensation challenges. We also examine the overestimation of benefitsmore »and underestimation of costs along with changes that are needed to address the legitimate social and environmental concerns of people living in areas where dams are planned. Finally, we propose innovative solutions that can move hydropower toward sustainable practices together with solar, wind, and other renewable sources.« less