Social science of hydropower

BAR HARBOR — College of the Atlantic student Sara Löwgren will present her senior project studying local perceptions of hydroelectric dams on the Lule river in Northern Sweden at the college’s Human Ecology Forum on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 4:10 p.m.

“As the consequences of anthropogenic climate change worsen, the need for alternative energy is becoming clearer,” organizers said. “Worldwide, hydropower is the main source of renewable energy, but its ecological and social impacts are often problematic and borne by the communities living along the rivers. Dams are rapidly electrifying countries around the world and questions are arising: Can hydropower be sustainable? If so, what would that take?”

Löwgren will explore hydropower through a human-ecological lens, drawing on politics, energy, history, ecology, economics and social justice to understand the case study of Sweden, where hydropower has supplied most of the electricity for decades.

She will present the initial findings from her senior project, a social scientific study where she explored how people of Jokkmokk feel the hydroelectric dams on the Lule river and the state-owned company Vattenfall have affected the Jokkmokk economy and culture.

“In this talk, she will present her initial findings and share some of her inconvenient insights and hopeful recommendations.”

Löwgren is originally from Sweden and attends COA as one of the Davis-Mahindra UWC Scholars. Within her major in human ecology, she studies water, climate change and energy through science and politics. Outside of school, she works with the Water Youth Network and enjoys spending time in Acadia National Park.

Contact 801-5623.

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