Patagonia’s Blue Heart - The Fight for Europe’s Last Wild Rivers Premiere

New York, New York - My friends and I love attending events in the city - especially when they focus on sustainability. Recently, we attended an event sponsored by Patagonia: the premiere screening of Blue Heart - The Fight for Europe’s Last Wild Rivers at Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Bowl. The sold-out event started with the screening of the film and then proceeded with a musical performance by Andrew Bird, who composed the score for Blue Heart.

We ended up running late to the event and got to Brooklyn Bowl right as the opening credits began. I’m glad we didn’t miss any more! I was completely unaware of the river crisis happening in Eastern Europe. Right now, there are over 3,000 proposed dam projects involving hydropower plants. Although hydropower has a reputation for being a renewable energy source, it is one of the only kinds of renewable energy that leads to the extinction of the species it’s built near. If the hydropower plants aren’t stopped, they will divert the water from the rivers, and possibly even run them dry. This will affect not only the ecosystem that lives in the rivers but also the surrounding village communities in the Balkans.

The film touched on many important impacts that the planned dams will have on the Balkans. Creation of these dams and reservoirs causes the displacement of millions of people annually, who rely on the river for its clean water supply and abundant resources. Dams and diversions worsen the effects of climate change by causing an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Large dams and reservoirs emit 104 million metric tons of methane annually, which adds up to be 4% of the total global warming impact that humans have on the planet. The dams create stagnant reservoirs, which increase the temperature of the water, posing danger to species who live in cold water. There are many other negatives to dams and reservoirs, including loss of trees (AKA deforestation), an increase of flooding, mudslides, and a decrease in nutrient groundwater. The film also touched on many endangered species that will be threatened by the dams being built, especially the rare Balkan lynx. The point that Blue Heart is trying to make rings loud and clear - we need clean rivers, and the construction of dirty, polluting dams must be stopped. 

To learn more about the Blue Heart film, the impacts the dams will have on the Balkans, and ways you can take action, visit