Deep in the heart of Chili's Patagonia region flow two of the world's purest rivers, the Baker and Pascua. Fed by vast glacial systems, these untouched rivers drive biodiversity in rainforests, estuaries and marine ecosystems. They are also the life source for Patagonia's most tenacious residents: the Gauchos, the iconic South American cowboys who endure relentless winds and long winters on remote ranches in these river valleys. Now, five huge hydroelectric dams are planned for the two rivers. Promoted as "clean" energy, damming these major rivers would make floodplains out of river valleys, force ranchers off their land and wreak havoc on the massive ice fields and watersheds already under stress from global warming. Over the past century more than 45,000 large dams have altered the health of the planet's rivers with disastrous impacts that continue to unfold. This award-winning documentary captures the heated battle between those who wish to exploit the rivers, and those who wish to preserve the rivers and their surrounding lands, and as well the traditional lifestyle of its inhabitants. Juxtaposing the pro-dam business sector with renewable energy experts, Patagonia Rising brings awareness - and solutions - to this global conflict over water and power.
Over the past century more than 45,000 large dams have redefined river corridors around the globe with disastrous results. Descending the Baker River from the Northern Patagonia Ice-cap to its terminus at the Pacific Ocean, Patagonia Rising investigates a controversial plan to build five large hydroelectric dams in Chile's famed wilderness. Stopping off at Patagonia's most remote frontier ranches, this engaging story brings voice to the iconic South American cowboys, Gauchos, caught in the crossfire of future energy demands. Chile could become a leader in sustainable energy development, or it could continue down the road to squandering the pure watersheds of Patagonia. Juxtaposing the pro-dam business sector with renewable energy experts, Patagonia Rising brings intimate awareness to this global conflict over water and power.