Patagonia has launched its biggest European campaign to date to protect the last wild rivers in Europe. Save the Blue Heart aims to protect the Balkan region from more than 3,000 proposed hydropower projects by raising global public awareness about the scale and long-term negative impact this would have on the environment.
The campaign urges international banks to stop investing in the destruction of Europe’s last wild rivers. In the Balkan Peninsula between Slovenia and Albania, hydropower projects threaten to destroy the diverse culture, history and ecology of the region known as the Blue Heart of Europe.
Local activists living along these rivers are fighting to save their homes and the rivers. Women from the village of Kruščica, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, sat night and day for almost a year in peaceful protest to protect their communities’ rivers and their only source of drinking water.
Patagonia is joining with local communities and NGOs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Macedonia to put pressure on foreign developers and banks that are pouring over €700 million to fund the dam-building projects. One third of the dams and diversions are planned within sensitive protected areas, including 118 in national parks.
Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, commented: “It’s a waste of money and a moral travesty that some of the world’s largest financial institutions have embraced this outdated and exploitative technology and are financing new dams in some of the last wild places in Europe. Join us in stopping the construction of these dams and protecting Europe’s remaining wild rivers. This is a fight too important to ignore.”
Patagonia, along with NGO partners, is asking concerned citizens around the world to sign the petition to stop the funding of these dams and protect the last wild rivers of Europe.
Patagonia’s feature-length documentary Blue Heart will launch in April 2018.