Love Your River - A Valentine's Story

Lori Pottinger
A photo taken along side the Zambezi River on a trip to Mozambique in 2007
A photo taken along side the Zambezi River on a trip to Mozambique in 2007
Lori Pottinger

It goes without saying that most of the people I know love rivers. Every dam activist is first and foremost a river lover. Graceful, nimble, full of life, exciting – rivers stir some of our strongest connections to our landscape. Their very wildness is at the heart of our love; no one can really own a free-flowing river. Rivers are for sharing, for protecting, for loving. That’s why the notion of walling off a river with a huge dam breaks our hearts.

Love of rivers is at the heart (pardon the pun) of this year’s Day of Action for Rivers. This year, we hope you’ll join our storytelling project, “Every River Has Its Story.” To help put you in the mood, we’d like to share the story of two people who love their rivers, and how their love for each other was nurtured by their deep connection to rivers and water. Consider it a Valentine’s Day card from your friends at International Rivers.

It was the love of the Narmada River in India that brought Dipti Bhatnagar, fresh out of college, to volunteer for International Rivers a decade ago. Around the same time, our Africa team began working with Danny Ribeiro, whose love of the Zambezi in Southern Africa brought him to campaign to protect the river from further damming. Both were amazing, dedicated activists with big, big hearts.

Says Dipti: “We fell in love with rivers, then we fell in love with each other.” It’s no surprise that these two activists’ passion for each other is rooted in their passion for protecting the planet’s life-giving waterways. Rivers link us in so many ways. You can watch a short film of Danny and Dipti talking about their love story, the first (and so far sweetest) entry for our River Stories project.

Lots of us love rivers – but to put a new spin on that devilish phrase, the angels are in the details. Which river do you love, and why? What are some of the important relationships that you have made through your work to protect rivers? What stories do you have to tell about your love affair with your river? We hope you’ll share your stories about your river-love with us

Thursday, February 14, 2013


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