OK, but let's say that now that they are not building this project, someone somewhere has to expand a coal or uranium mine one day instead to meet demand. Those things don't exactly tend to have a positive effect on the ecosystems they operate in. Who knows, building some hydro might be a net gain ecosystem wise. Shutting down the hydro plant and implying that this benefits Patagonia is not thinking globally or long term.
More importantly, I suspect that energy projects probably have only a small effect on wilderness reduction. I seriously doubt that many of us would be prepared to take the necessary steps to really protect wilderness areas. I would suggest the necessary steps for those of you that really care wilderness areas such as Patagonia are to address the areas that have a much bigger impact than a few hydro projects:
1. Change our attitude to animals. We have an excessively pro-human bias which we don't yet realize amounts to a kind of discrimination. When we make decisions, we should look at the pros and cons to humans and animals and see if it's a fair trade off rather than focusing primarily on our own species, with just minor concessions to animals. Example: taking 5 minutes to check online which shampoo doesn't test on animals is a big deal for the animals, but we just have to change shampoo. Very minor inconvenience for us. Major gain for animals. Hence unethical not to check if your shampoo is tested on animals. Until we change this basic attitude where we can't be bothered to make such a tiny, simple change even though animals are being shoved in cages and having chemicals forced into their eyes until they go blind, you can imagine what types of decisions we'll continue to take when it comes to animal ecosystems vs human interests and we are just doing to continue to be a plague on the planet from the point of view of other species.
2. Eat a vegetarian or a vegan diet, or at the very least greatly reduce meat, especially beef, the least ecological food that I know of. Most Amazon destruction is due to animal agriculture for example. Pasture grazing can be very destructive to ecosystems. Animal agriculture is horrific in terms of land use, pollution, carbon emissions, water use, the list goes on.
3. Reduce consumption. If you are getting a new phone each year, a new laptop every couple of years, top of the line vehicle, shopping for new shoes every few months etc etc, then you are having a bigger impact on the world. Only buy the things you need even if you are wealthy, and replace things that are actually broken or completely old.
4. Stop breeding. The more people, the more effect on ecosystems. People with no children have had a positive effect on wilderness and animals, people with three children or more, not so much. (I am not actually advocating for this, just pointing out that from the point of view of wilderness, it is the best thing.)
5. Make the effort to figure out how to reduce your carbon emissions. Actually take less flights, drive less miles, use renewables, and so on. See also points 2 and 3. It seems that global warming may be causing more natural disasters and ecosystem damage in the future. Not certain, but it's a big risk being taken.
Looking back over the points my own record has been pretty hit and miss to say the least, but I am trying to do better.
My wife is not currently fully accepting of my argument on point 3.