Healthy rivers are critical to sustaining life on earth. They’re also at the nexus of the climate crisis and long-standing legacies of environmental injustice.
As part of a global network of river defenders, we promote water, energy and food production systems that protect communities, regenerate river health, build social and ecological resiliency, and bring equity to the economic development process.
Large dams have caused immense suffering, displacing some 40-80 million people and harming hundreds of millions more. Learn how affected communities and their supporters are fighting for their rivers, rights and lives.
Elevating Grassroots Power
Our ongoing work to support movements looks different in each region. We work with partners and allies to articulate a shared agenda, prioritizing guidance from, and solidarity with, indigenous and ethnic minority networks. We develop inclusive strategies to ensure gender equity, so that women and men can both engage in networks and take on leadership roles.
Freshwater Ecosystems & Biodiversity
Rivers are the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth – and also the most threatened by human activity. In the last 40 years, the wildlife that inhabit rivers and lakes have lost, on average, over 80% of their populations. River and freshwater species are declining twice as fast as land-based and marine species. Freshwater biodiversity is in crisis, but with careful stewardship and river protection, we can reverse that trend.
Dam proponents have long claimed large dams are a source of “cheap” hydropower and water. Today, we know better. Communities are demanding better behavior from the corporations that seek access to their lands and water.
River ecosystems are integral to a healthy climate and to the carbon cycle. River-wrecking dams not only disrupt the natural capture and flow of carbon, but also release methane, a potent greenhouse gas, under the guise of “green energy.” We work to promote sustainable energy options with people-centered decisions that do not sacrifice the environment, the climate or the rights of communities.