Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water Compare and Contrast

Marc Reisner

Compare and Contrast

1980s: The cost-sharing component of the 1986 reform (by the Water Resources Development Act) radically constrains construction of new water projects.

Today: Twenty dams are currently being constructed worldwide. Approximately forty dams are being proposed for sites worldwide—the largest proposed enterprise is Brazil’s plan to construct a series of sixteen dams in the Amazon Basin. Meanwhile, six dams are being considered for demolition.

1980s: Environmental concern ushers in an era of dam demolition and wetland mitigation.

Today: Efforts to remove dams in the United States have been stymied, and electrical demand has led to a relaxation of pollution controls and an increase in hydroelectric reliance.

1980s: Disgruntled environmentalists form Earth First!, a radical and direct action oriented group. This group begins a series of direct confrontations with logging and construction companies. They are especially active against road construction in wilderness areas.

Today: Inspired by the Earth First! protest repertoire, groups worldwide attempt to broaden media discussions about globalization. The most famous such action occurred when environmentalists marched with blue collar workers in protest. In 1999, the action, named the ‘‘Battle in Seattle,’’ raised the cost, drama, and violence for any city hosting a globalization summit meeting or conference...

(The entire section is 202 words.)