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Why Rivers?

Nearly 90% of the earth’s population lives within walking distance of a river system. Even so, these life-providing rivers are on the verge of collapse. Our focus on river health and conservation efforts help improve community and environmental health by removing pollutants from the very sources that feed into our oceans.

Life-Giving Rivers

As sources for food, water, power, transportation, sanitation, recreation and more, rivers provide rich and diverse ecosystems that serve as a backbone of human societies across the globe.. 

As the unsung heroes of biodiversity, rivers house nearly 50% of all fish species and create the required ecosystem that allows plant life, aquatic birds, and small animal populations to flourish. 

Rivers also support wetlands and marshes, which provide either homes or breeding grounds for an estimated 40% of the world’s species. Without rivers, all of the species that rely on marshlands for survival would be in jeopardy.

Through developed irrigation systems, rivers irrigate 62 percent of all irrigated land. This land accounts for 40 percent of global food production, meaning rivers directly support approximately a quarter of global food production.  

Globally, nearly 12 million tons of freshwater fish are harvested per year in river fisheries. This provides the primary source of protein for at least 160 million people. River fisheries provide livelihoods for 60 million people, with 55 percent of those being women.

despite their life giving importance, rivers stand on the brink of collapse.

River systems are the most vital habitat on earth supporting all life, but they have become dangerous highways of waste transporting pollution to our communities, surrounding natural habitats, and ultimately, our oceans. Pollution comes in many different forms including garbage, industrial waste, and bio-waste. Our focus on river health helps prevent the distribution of pollution and clean up the communities and ecosystems they directly affect.

River systems are the most vital habitat on earth supporting both life and economies, but also dangerous highways of ocean waste. Pollution comes in many different forms, from garbage to industrial waste to bio-waste. Studies show that approximately 80% of the world’s wastewater is dumped right back into the environment before it can be fully treated. The waste winds up in our waterways, polluting rivers, lakes, and eventually oceans.

0% of the world's population lives within walking distance of a river system
0% of known fish species swim within rivers
0% of global GDP along river systems by 2050

Answering The Call

Rivers provide vital support for human life and wildlife. But today, rivers around the world are at risk. Pollution is an increasing problem. This pollution damages the rivers themselves, as well as the surrounding ecosystems and the many lives that depend on them. This presents an immediate and dangerous impact on human beings. As the world’s demand for freshwater continues to grow, the importance of clean rivers becomes more important than ever.

Enter River Heroes. All over the world individuals, communities, and organizations are rising to the challenge to effect real change both locally and globally.

Join The Movement

We invite you to join the Rivers Are Life movement and be part of a new era of modern exploration highlighting the wonder of our planet’s rivers, the humans and wildlife that call them home, and the issues that threaten this vital natural resource. Together, we can learn, understand, and inspire the action that will lead to real change.