In 2005 Li An Phoa canoed the full length of a river in Canada, the Rupert. All along the way, she could drink water straight from the river. Three years later, Li An came back and she could not drink from the Rupert anymore. The river was polluted as a result of dams and mining. Fish died, people got ill. The delicate balance in the ecosystem was destroyed.
Li An realised that drinkable rivers are an indicator of healthy living. Indeed, when we can drink from our rivers, it means that a whole ecosystem is healthy and in balance. Rivers can only be drinkable when all actions and relations in an entire watershed contribute.
We propose to use drinkable rivers, as a guiding principle for our societies, as a replacement of economic growth. Drinkable rivers as an ancient and new compass, guided by the following, simple question: “Does this behaviour, this measure, or this innovation contribute to drinkable rivers?”
Rivers are vital for all life on earth, rivers are our lifelines. We cannot live without water, we are water. All living beings are part of a watershed, so we will all benefit from drinkable rivers.
A movie from Thom Verheul, creative commons 2020 Stichting Drinkable Rivers
Images from Nicolas Boisclair, Gabriel Tetro, Mike Wong and Ryan Erless. Edited by Alfa Lee.