A Deadly Shade of Green.
Karl Michelin, of Rigolet, takes a break from dressing a jar seal he hunted in Lake Melville near Big Island where he has a hunting camp on Nov. 10, 2019. Michelin supplements much of his food source with seal meat. The meat is used to feed him and his family along with Inuit elders in the community who can no longer hunt as easily as when they were younger. Seal is a staple in the Inuit diet, a food source that is being threatened by effects of the Churchill Falls Dam that empties in to Lake Melville, one of North America’s largest estuaries. Image by Michael G. Seamans. Canada, 2019.

Labrador's Inuit are a people on the brink — for generations, their culture has been relentlessly eroded by powerful forces of colonialism, often intent on exploiting the region's rich natural resources.

A tiny Inuit community, now faces new threats from Canada's state-owned hydropower industry, which constitutes one of the largest producers of electricity on Earth. Massive dams on magnificent, once-wild rivers flood thousands of square miles of indigenous hunting grounds. The flooded areas trigger the release of poisonous methylmercury into the food chain, threatening traditional hunting and fishing practices.

This environmental and cultural degradation is enabled by New Englanders thirsty for cheap, renewable hydropower. As New England chases ambitious renewable energy mandates in an effort to fight climate change, the region is expected to send billions of dollars north of the border for more hydropower But much of the public doesn't realize the cultural and environmental toll—including CO2 emissions—of hydroelectricity.

Reporting from Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Rigolet, Labrador, Matt Hongoltz-Hetling and Michael Seamans use multimedia elements to tell the heart-wrenching stories of the affected people and lands, and evaluate the claim that large scale hydropower projects are "green."

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