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Drinkable rivers as societal compass

Engaging people to care for a world with drinkable rivers

Published onOct 09, 2020
Drinkable rivers as societal compass

Since a child my guiding question has been: how do we truly live together? My response for now is by living towards a world with drinkable rivers. I seek to raise awareness and mobilise people to come to action in service of this possibility. I began fifteen years ago by walking and the past five years specifically along rivers and inviting people to join these walks. I have seen that once we experience our rivers, once we understand their importance and our dependence on them, our love for them grows and from that our care and our responsibility follows.

Besides walking, other ways of raising awareness and activating people have evolved:

  • engaging people through citizen science to monitor their river and water quality and thus receive localised feedback

  • forming a network of mayors for drinkable rivers

  • setting up the Drinkable Rivers Foundation

  • contributing to a TV series ‘Drinkable Meuse’ which is being turned now into an international documentary

  • and currently my partner and I are writing a book.


My practice today is discovering ways of engaging people (communicating; offering or inviting actions; connecting) to care, from a personal and inner place, for that which takes care of us. I am seeking for a narrative that serves caring as an approach to life that is embodied, authentic, personal as well as systemic. How to bring this narrative across to many and diverse people?

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