What story will we write together?

Our tag line is Rivers Connect Us. What does that mean? It means we all live downstream and we’re all in this together. We are a nation of rivers.

Sacramento River | Bob Wick

I’ve been thinking a lot about stories, especially since November 9th. What stories do we tell each other? What stories shape us? What stories do we live?

A friend shared this blog and this line struck me: “We are entering a space between stories.” Ecotrust’s Spencer Beebe tells us, “We desperately need a new story, a new myth… We need a myth that celebrates community.”

Can rivers help us figure out what this new story needs to look like?

They are interconnected. They work best when they flow freely. They are dynamic, ever-changing. And water, it heals.

We need to write the story we want to live. We need to right the story, like righting a ship.

I have been thinking about the stories we tell at American Rivers, and how we need to do a better job being inclusive, to articulate the Why of what we do, why it matters. To everyone. How we need to do a better job reaching out and listening to others’ stories.

Our tag line is Rivers Connect Us. What does that mean? It means we all live downstream from one another and we’re all in this together. We are a nation of rivers.

We all need clean drinking water. | CDC
We all need clean drinking water. | CDC

Whether you want clean drinking water for your kids or the preservation of your cultural heritage, whether you want a neighborhood safe from flood damage and toxic pollution, or fish to catch or free-flowing rivers to paddle, we’re on the same team.

Our fall/winter newsletter and our annual report for 2016 celebrate connections. They celebrate people across the country who understand the importance of healthy rivers in their lives, and are doing their part for river protection and restoration.

People like Paul Bruchez, a rancher in Colorado who is working to restore the Colorado River so he has reliable water supplies. People like Maite Arce with the Hispanic Access Foundation who is rallying Latinos across the Colorado Basin in support of river conservation. People like Kasim Reed, the Mayor of Atlanta, who is championing green infrastructure projects that are good for the environment, community and economy. People like Burks Lapham who supports a fellowship program to develop the next generation of river conservation leaders, and people like Mark Deming of NRS who is proving business can be a force for good.

Sunset at a bridge over the Mississippi River
Sunset at a bridge over the Mississippi River

We’re going to tell more stories in the coming year. Stories that build bridges, that bring us together. And stories that illustrate very clearly what’s at stake when it comes to protecting our rivers, our clean water, our communities.

We’d love to hear your story. Why do rivers matter to you? Why are you standing up for rivers and clean water? You can share it here, and on social media with #WeAreRivers. Or email me.

Rivers have always been gathering places. They are where people first settled and traded. Villages and cities grew up at confluences. Rivers are where we gather around campfires to be with friends and family, to share some of the most meaningful experiences of our lives.

Let’s gather together. Let’s fire each other up. Let’s stand up for what we believe in and let’s write the story we want, the story we need. For rivers, and each other.

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