The beauty of a river lies in its seemingly simple complexity. At the surface it’s just moving water that always takes the easiest way from A to B.
On the other hand… under that surface there is so much more.
The ecosystem that a river is, is a vulnerable equilibrium containing water, plants, trees, fish, insects, rocks, hydraulics, nutrients and much more, which all have their purposes somewhere from its source to where it debouches and in most cases even further into the salty oceans and seas.
The river is not just water. It’s life and it’s a home for many.
We must do all we can to protect our precious rivers in order to protect our own future.
At the European Packrafting Meet-Up, Tobias Schäfer from the River Film Fest EU did a short screening of (mostly) trailers from all kinds of “river movies”. Each told a different story, stories of people who are passionate about rivers or in awe of their beauty and complexity. And sadly… also stories of people who witness the destructive power of mankind that rivers are constantly facing. For us it was unexpectedly emotional.
There are two reasons: first of all, we love water. Not only to look at or ponder upon, but also while swimming or fishing, or when trying to catch a wave, on slow and relaxing canoe trips or (since recent) in a white foaming wave train. To see all this beauty simply makes you thankful.
And second, our brand Hooked was born on a riverbank (or at least the idea was). That’s where our interest for and the importance of our sustainability come from. It became our DNA. We never realized that water was such a big part of who and what we are.
The people of the Balkan River Defense opened our eyes even further with a passionate and sometimes hilarious presentation of Rok Rozman, the founder of BRD and Vera. Their activism is a great example on how positivity can be a powerful weapon against mankind’s greed and stupidity.
Their goal is to create awareness and to protect the last free flowing rivers in the Balkan area.
Building dams to “harness the power of the river” and converting it to electrical power is sold as a clean and sustainable way of producing energy. Well it’s not. Sure, you don’t have any emission but that also goes for nuclear power. The facts about dams make a sickening list of bad shit we do to our planet. Dams kill the flow of the river, they stop fish migration, they flood or dry out valleys, they destroy national parks, they contribute to climate change and global warming and they feed corruption, money-laundering and in some cases violence.
That doesn’t sound to good for green and sustainable energy isn’t it?
We should consider more how big our footprint on he planet really is and one way to do that is to go out there. Go out and paddle a river, go out and hike through a beautiful forest, go out and listen to the sounds of nature.
Only then you’ll get the whole picture.
Save The Vjosa River, a story about the last free flowing river in Europe.
The Undamaged, Balkan River Defence made a documentary. Here’s the trailer.
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copy by Jan Bergs
pictures by Katrien de Troch, Studio Gloria
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