Tools for Activists The tools on this page provide practical advice for community activists working to protect rivers and stop destructive river-engineering projects.

Tools for Activists

The tools on this page provide practical advice for community activists working to protect rivers and stop destructive river-engineering projects.

The Basics

If you’re just getting started, a good place to do so isDams, Rivers and Rights: An Action Guide for Communities Affected by Dams. This guide provides general information about dams and their impacts, shares lessons and ideas from the growing international anti-dam movement, and gives concrete ideas on how to challenge dams. (Available in English, Spanish, French and Hindi.)

Maps can be a valuable campaign tool. To learn how to get started in mapping, read Making Maps that Make A Difference: A Citizens’ Guide to Making and Using Maps for Advocacy Work.

How do dams alter rivers? For a look at basic dam impacts, check out, where you can explore the components of healthy rivers and what happens when a dam is built. Check out the latest research on reservoir emissions and a Google Earth 3-D tour to understand how dams can worsen the impacts of climate change.

Learn how Thai groups do community based research on fisheries to protect their resources when dams are proposed.

Regional guides

Proposing a Better Way

If you want to propose alternative planning processes: our Citizens’ Guide to the WCDsummarizes key findings of the World Commission on Dams’ final report, and describes how community groups can use the report to improve water and energy planning. Our Protecting Rivers and Rights activist briefing kit provides concrete examples of where and how the WCD principles have been applied, and what happened when they were ignored. 

If you want to propose better solutions to meeting water and energy needs:

If you are working to decommission a dam:

If the aluminum industry is the primary motivator for a dam: Foiling the Aluminum Industry: A Toolkit for Communities, Activists, Consumers and Workers. This toolkit provides a variety of information fundamental to understanding the aluminum industry. Includes case studies, practical suggestions on tactics that may be useful for activists, and consumer tips on reducing the impacts of aluminum products.

If you are looking for pro bono lawyers to assist you in a court case involving dams or mining:Environmental Defenders Law Center Pro Bono Program. This group enlists top American and European lawyers and law firms to provide pro bono assistance to protect the human rights of individuals and communities in developing countries who are fighting against harm to their environment.

Information for Grantseekers:

If you are seeking funds to support a particular campaign or program, Global Greengrants Fund has a compilation of resources for grantseekers. If you interested in launching a new project, check out Earth Island Institute’s Project Support Program.

Didn’t find what you were looking for? Visit our publications page for our complete library.


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