Three Gorges Dam Essay Research Paper Large

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Three Gorges Dam Essay, Research Paper Large dam construction projects can be seen as humankind s attempt to control nature by changing the course and speed of a river. Is controlling nature a worthwhile goal for humankind? Should we try to live in harmony with nature instead? Throughout history, philosophers such as John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, Rachel Carson, and Gifford Pinchot have argued about these and other ideas relating to human interaction with the natural world. The Yangtze River was formed from the movement of the earth’s crust some 40 million years ago. It is the world’s third largest river after the Amazon and the Nile. China has relied largely on the Yangtze River for thousands of years. Just the same, people have feared the Yangtze for thousands of

years. It has long brought frequent and disastrous floods to downstream residents. It has killed hundreds of thousands of Yangtze dwellers. The river has been part of these people’s lives, whether good or bad, since the beginning of times. For centuries, floods have drastically effected the people along the Yangtze. This century alone, floods have killed over 300,000 people. The flood of 1998 alone was so cataclysmic that not only did it kill people, but almost drowned China’s economy. In August of 1998, one tenth of China’s grain supply was completely destroyed. A 1996 flood killed 2,700 people, and as many as 140,000 died in 1931. Flood control is not the only positive impact that the dam will have. In terms of money and economy, the dam will generate electric power,

increase shipping, and provide better irrigation and drinking water. The Three Gorges Dam will be capable of creating 18.2 million kilowatts of electricity. That is enough power to run a city ten times the size of Los Angeles. Thus, making it the largest power plant in the world. The dam will increase shipping along the Yangtze five fold by allowing larger ships to travel further up the river. That’s a big boost for the economy of China. This increase in shipping will be due to the complexity of the dam. For instance, an actual elevator will be used to raise smaller ships (up to 3000 tons) to the water level of the dam. One of the world’s largest lock systems will be used by the larger barges (up to 10,000 tons). This lock system is so amazing that it could raise the Titanic

to the height of the Statue of Liberty in just three hours. The Three Gorges Dam will favorably impact the environment in several ways. It will provide flood control for the downstream area on the Yangtze River. The Dam will also provide roughly 16, 750 megawatts of electricity from twenty-six different turbines. This is the power equivalent to around 18 nuclear power plants or fifty million tons of coal. This reduces the coal emissions by around 1.3 million tons of carbon dioxide as well as ten thousand tons of nitrous oxides. This new hydropower will provide a cleaner energy source. The completed dam will also have favorable economic impacts, as it will allow shipping further up the Yangtze. The increased power generation and business opportunities will allow China to continue

to grow. This dam is also a symbol of China’s technological and industrial capabilities as it is the largest dam in the world and is hailed as the eighth wonder of the world. There are many concerns and problems that this dam causes. It’s huge size alone, no other dam has this sheer size and impact, causes concerns in the assumptions that have been made in the planning of it. The damming of the Yangtze River by the Three Gorges Dam will create a reservoir that will be nearly six hundred kilometers long. Being that the canyons are so narrow and steep this reservoir will inundate a large amount of land. With the scheduled completion of the Three Gorges Dam by the year 2009, the People’s Republic of China will have completed the biggest, most expensive, and perhaps the most