Target: President of Laos Choummaly Sayasone
Goal: Prevent the damming of the Mekong River, which humans and wildlife depend on for their well being
The Laos government has plans to dam the Mekong River, despite protests from environmentalists and citizens. Fishermen, along with the Irrawaddy dolphins, depend on this river for their well being. Many fishermen make their income on this river, and the dolphins call this place home. The construction of this dam will negatively impact the environment in this area and it must be halted at once.
According to the fishermen in the area, the dam would be built on the only channel that fish in the areal will travel by year round. Other channels are too fast, have too many obstacles, or have too many structures to catch the fish. The Irrawaddy dolphins also call this place home, and if the sediment, fish, or the hydrology change, it will negatively impact them. Many of the communities living in this area rely on fish to feed their families, and the dam could potentially ruin them.
The environmental manager for the Don Sahong Dam says that no environment damage will befall the area once the dam is finished. The manager says that the danger of the dolphins disappearing is real, but he blames it on bad fishing, tourism, and poor management. However, where Europe and the United States have several well known species of fish, Laos has as many as 70 species, many of which have not been extensively studied.
The dam is meant to bring economic prosperity to Laos, and while many citizens disagree with its construction, they are not able to voice their concerns. Laos is a one party government, and speaking out against government policies could spell incarceration. The people care about the river and the wildlife that thrives in it. Urge the president of Laos to halt construction of the Don Sahong Dam for the well being of the fishermen and the wildlife.
Dear President Choummaly Sayasone,
Recently your government began construction of the Don Sahong Dam on the Mekong River. The citizens living in this region are growing concerned about its construction, as it could negatively impact their lives and the wildlife that live in the river. These citizens are fishermen who survive on the fish that comes from the river. This dam could potentially ruin the ecosystem in this area, and the citizens have every right to be concerned.
I am writing this letter urging you to stop the dam’s construction. Your country shouldn’t sacrifice your environment for economic prosperity. Our environment is extremely precious, and more than just humans rely on it to survive. I am asking you to listen to your citizens’ pleas and do what is best for them and the land.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Stefan Brending via Wikimedia Commons