Christopher Pollon is a journalist whose work has appeared in The Walrus, Reader’s Digest, and the Globe and Mail. Ben Nelms is a photojournalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Maclean’s, and Canadian Geographic.

In 2015, Christopher Pollon and Ben Nelms paddled the 83-kilometre section of the Peace River that will be destroyed by the Site C dam reservoir, to witness the first steps of construction for the most expensive infrastructure project in BC history. They concluded their trip by touring the same stretch by land, interviewing and photographing the locals who stand to lose everything. Equal parts travel adventure, history, and journalistic exploration, The Peace in Peril covers the dubious trade-off of hydro power for resources like timber and farmland, and begs the question: How will lives, human and otherwise, be erased or irrevocably altered when the next great flood engulfs the Peace River valley?


  • Long-listed, George Ryga Award for Social Awareness 2017
  • Short-listed, Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize 2017



“This gorgeously photographed celebration of a pristine paradise that could soon be submerged under many meters of dam-directed water serves as an informative, nuanced introduction to the issues surrounding the controversial British Columbia Site C hydroelectric proposal, one that pits farmers, First Nations, conservationists, and other longtime residents of the region against the interests of distant corporate utilities. The book is both a travelogue chronicling a portage by two urbanites through the majestic Peace River Valley and a social, economic, and political history of the province’s long-time relationship with similar megaprojects. It documents a lifestyle that could disappear within a decade if this provincial infrastructure project (the costliest ever in B. C.) proceeds. It’s also a heartrending portrait of those who will be most affected, including water and land-based wildlife and humans already traumatized by similar projects in the region. Acknowledging that much of B. C.’s post-WWII prosperity came at a massive cost to the Peace River region with the construction of the massive W. A.C. Bennett dam, this work challenges readers to consider the tradeoffs that continue to be made in harnessing energy sources in rural areas to provide comfort for city dwellers wholly unconnected to the consequences of their lifestyles. ”

- Publishers’ Weekly