Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Is there a reason so-called environmentalists don't care about the Nicaragua canal?

A Chinese consortium is proposing -- and apparently going forward with -- plans to cut a Pacific-to-Atlantic canal through Nicaraugua, in competition with the Panama Canal. Oddly enough, this plan is not getting much attention, even though an article in Nature sets forth the case that this project would be an "environmental disaster:"
In our view, this canal could create an environmental disaster in Nicaragua and beyond. The excavation of hundreds of kilometres from coast to coast, traversing Lake Nicaragua, the largest drinking-water reservoir in the region, will destroy around 400,000 hectares of rainforests and wetlands.
The accompanying development could imperil surrounding ecosystems. Some 240 kilometres north of the most likely route of the canal lies the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve — 2 million hectares of tropical forest that is the last refuge of many disappearing species (see 'Nicaragua carve-up'). Less than 115 kilometres to the south is the Indio Maiz Biological Reserve, with more than 318,000 hectares of tropical dry forest. Worse still, the probable canal route cuts through the northern sector of the Cerro Silva Natural Reserve.
The Cato Institute also noticed the curious silence on the part of the world's "environmentalists:"
Interestingly, despite this potential massive threat to one of the most pristine environmental reservoirs in the Americas, none of the leading international environmental organizations, such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth or the Sierra Club, has issued a single statement about the Nicaragua Canal.
Seems strange that these groups would be up in arms about a hypothetical threat like man-made global warming, and yet completely silent on and actually environmental disaster-in-waiting like this. What could be the difference that accounts for the disparity in concern? You tell me.

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