12 user 5 critic

DamNation (2014)

This powerful film odyssey across America explores the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers.


Ben Knight (co-director), Travis Rummel (co-director)


Yvon Chouinard (conceived by), Ben Knight | 1 more credit »
4 wins. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Edward Abbey Edward Abbey ... Self (archive footage)
Bruce Babbitt Bruce Babbitt ... Self
Lori Bodi Lori Bodi ... Self
Yvon Chouinard ... Self
Elmer Crow Elmer Crow ... Self (Nez Perce tribal elder)
Laura Rose Day Laura Rose Day ... Self
Robert Elofson Robert Elofson ... Self
Don Fowler Don Fowler ... Self
Nate Gray Nate Gray ... Self
Larry Echo Hawk Larry Echo Hawk ... Self
Mikal Jakubal Mikal Jakubal ... Self
Jonathan Jarvis Jonathan Jarvis ... Self
Bryan Jones Bryan Jones ... Self
Ben Knight Ben Knight ... Narrator
Katie Lee ... Self


This powerful film odyssey across America explores the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. Dam removal has moved beyond the fictional Monkey Wrench Gang to go mainstream. Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access. DamNation's majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature. Written by DamNation Team

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Performed by Scott Morgan as loscil
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The blood veins of the Earth
21 February 2019 | by MovieIQTestSee all my reviews

Should not be blocked by so many dams. The rivers are exactly like the veins in human body, once clogged, the heart suffered and the body died consequently. When I first read the review of spanatko12 July 2014 before I watched this documentary, I somewhat agreed what he said 90%. But after I've watched it, his review and his opinions on the necessity of the dams just to generate stable supply of electricity has suddenly became a "Yes" and "No" conclusion, and the "No" seemed to get the upper hand of my feeling. But to emphasize the importance of the salmon fishery and the salmon back-home journey culture, or salmons long ago were one of the main food sources for the Indians, building the dams impaired their incomes or salmon catching tradition, neither was what I considered the dams were not right; the only thing that I think important was the rivers, as long as they flow, should not be blocked whatsoever. All the rhetoric reasons or excuses simply won't stand. You block the flow of the river, you ruin the natural balance of the environment. "If I could choose between birds and airplanes, I'll choose birds", that's a very intelligent remark by Charles Lindbergh. Some elements of the nature should be improved by humans but building dams definitely is not one of such endeavors.

"Dams, irrigation and now climate change have drastically run the once-mighty Colorado River dry. "rom its source high in the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado River channels water south nearly 1,500 miles, over falls, through deserts and canyons, to the lush wetlands of a vast delta in Mexico and into the Gulf of California.

That is, it did so for six million years.

Then, beginning in the 1920s, Western states began divvying up the Colorado's water, building dams and diverting the flow hundreds of miles, to Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and other fast-growing cities. The river now serves 30 million people in seven U.S. states and Mexico, with 70 percent or more of its water siphoned off to irrigate 3.5 million acres of cropland.

The damming and diverting of the Colorado, the nation's seventh-longest river, may be seen by some as a triumph of engineering and by others as a crime against nature, but there are ominous new twists. The river has been running especially low for the past decade, as drought has gripped the Southwest. It still tumbles through the Grand Canyon, much to the delight of rafters and other visitors. And boaters still roar across Nevada and Arizona's Lake Mead, 110 miles long and formed by the Hoover Dam. But at the lake's edge they can see lines in the rock walls, distinct as bathtub rings, showing the water level far lower than it once was-some 130 feet lower, as it happens, since 2000. Water resource officials say some of the reservoirs fed by the river will never be full again.

Climate change will likely decrease the river's flow by 5 to 20 percent in the next 40 years, says geo-scientist Brad Udall, director of the University of Colorado Western Water Assessment. Less precipitation in the Rocky Mountains will yield less water to begin with. Droughts will last longer. Higher overall air temperatures will mean more water lost to evaporation."

Dams only give you a dead pool of water, it clogged the natural flow of the rivers. It's just like the veins in the human body, when the blood circulation is blocked section after section, the human body will be dead. The Earth is like human body, the rivers are the veins of the Earth, once they are blocked, the Earth soon will be dead. And we are seeing it happens now.

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22 November 2014 (Japan) See more »

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DamNation See more »

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