On the 20th Annual Day of Action for Rivers, we saw communities around the globe rise up to celebrate healthy, free-flowing rivers. Whether it was in a boat on the Amazon, in a River Wildlife Corridor in Dublin, at a university auditorium in Sri Lanka, or in a concert hall in Sudan, every action helped make the Day of Action for Rivers echo around the world.
This year, a record-breaking number of over 200 actions took place in 45 countries. To everyone who rallied, petitioned, picnicked on rivers, gave speeches, and screened films, we want to thank you for choosing to stand up to protect our most precious resource: water.
We can’t go into detail about every incredible event (we wish we could!), but here’s a small snapshot of some of the actions that took place:
Continuing their many years of strong participation, the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum culminated a two-week-long people’s caravan with the Sindh People’s Assembly. The assembly brought together fishing and peasant communities, civil society members, academics, government officials, media, and other stakeholders to take steps to restore and protect the Indus River.
Dirt Bag Paddlers led a contest and nation-wide effort to clean up our rivers under the theme #ShowUsYourJunk. They partnered with local businesses and river protection groups to pull junk out of rivers, paddle on them, and share food and good company. Contestants sent in photos and reports, and winners were given t-shirts as prizes.
The Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights in Owerri hosted a media roundtable on the protection of rivers in Nigeria. The three-hour discussion increased awareness of river protection and encouraged stakeholders to condemn unhealthy policies for rivers. Attendees followed up the roundtable with a visit to the heavily polluted River Niger in Onitsha, Anambra.
The community radio station “La Zona 98.3” in Commander Luis Piedra Buena, Santa Cruz started a campaign in opposition to two mega-dam projects planned for their local Santa Cruz River. Concerned citizens all over the region (and the world) tweeted, emailed, and posted pictures with signs that said, “Por un Río Santa Cruz Libre,” or “For a free-flowing Santa Cruz River.”
The People’s Movement for the Jalaur River (JRPM) held a ceremony asking for blessings from Haraywon, the Tumandok indigenous peoples’ god of rivers. The Tumandoks have stalled the construction of dams on the Jalaur River for five years in an ongoing struggle. Ceremonies are cultural rites, strengthening them for a greater battle ahead, while demonstrating their opposition to projects that would harm the river.
March 14 has passed, but the Day of Action for Rivers is about more than just one day, event or action – it’s about the ongoing fight for freshwater in an era of climate change. And it’s about strength in unity and solidarity.
Our rivers need our awareness and protection more than ever. Let’s keep this momentum rolling. Here’s how you can help:
- Keep sharing your images! Email them to us or post with the hashtag #RiversUniteUs.
- Keep adding events to the map!
- Pledge to take action for rivers near you this year.
- Sign up for ongoing updates about the annual Day of Action for Rivers.
On the International Day of Action for Rivers, we felt our power. Now let’s keep that power going all year long. Rise up for rivers!