Keep Our Rivers Free on March 14th

Katherine Brousseau

My name is Katherine, I'm the 2012 Day of Action for Rivers coordinator and will be writing this blog for the next two months. The more I learn about the global events which have taken place over the last fourteen years on this symbolic day, the more amazed I am. There are so many courageous people out there working to protect their river ecosystems and communities from the harmful effects of dams and pollution. The Day of Action for Rivers is a time for people to represent and move forward with their struggles, and also celebrate the beauty and benefits of a local river - and all the world's rivers.

Costa Rica - National Forum Against Dams 2009
Costa Rica - National Forum Against Dams 2009

What is International River's role in this worldwide time of action for rivers? Our role is to find out what individuals and groups are doing in support of healthy rivers. We want to hear from those at the grassroots level and provide a stage for their voices, to connect people across the world fighting in their many ways for clean and free-flowing rivers, and to celebrate every individual's effort to speak out. As photos and stories come our way, we'll be sharing them here, in the hope that they spread around the world. A saying I recently heard from the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement (MST) is ringing in my ear: "Globalizar la lucha! Globalizar la esperanza! Globalize the struggle! Globalize the hope!"

This year's theme is "Keep Our Rivers Free," linking the dangers of destructive dams and also exposing the greenwashing of dams by governments and corporations. (Watch for our upcoming blog about the anti-greenwashing Day of Action for Rivers event planned for the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille...and why there's an Alternative World Water Forum!)

As March 14th nears, you can also check this blog to read up on planned events, get inspired, and read guest blogs from other participants (send me an email if you'd like to write a blog about your Day of Action for Rivers events, at

I'll be writing about many things: past and future Day of Action for Rivers events; rhetoric used to make a project sound sustainable, green, or socially-responsible when it's clearly not; dam plans to be aware of, and more sustainable alternatives; and the whole spectrum of inspirational, ethical, and informative matters connected to the Day of Action for Rivers. You'll see that I'm passionate about challenging the fundamental beliefs that allow for the social-environmental injustices that result from projects such as dam building.

Mekong River Worship 2011
Mekong River Worship 2011

It's so exciting to be here at International Rivers, and to be part of this Day of Action for Rivers. I'm a recent Conservation and Resource Studies graduate from UC Berkeley, and have been eager to join an environmental-social movement. I think the greatest thing my education did for me was widen my passion for wildlife and "wildlands" into an understanding of the interconnectedness of people and nature, ecosystems and livelihoods. And last year, I saw some amazing things happen with the Occupy movement here in Berkeley, and am hoping that the energy I saw building will find its global voice.

Let's all raise our voices for rivers, and listen to the flowing of our rivers, on March 14th.