#16 Li An Phoa; Singing Hearts and Drinkable Rivers

In this second episode in the Water, Life, Climate, and Civilization Series, I’m grateful to be able to share this inspiring conversation with Li An Phoa, creator of the Drinkable Rivers movement.  Li An is a scientist, activist, and river walker, working to mobilize watersheds to engage in citizen science and work together towards the return of drinkability to their river.  Li An explains that such properties of a river can emerge when all the relationships along it’s banks and in the watershed that feeds it are healthy.  She also reminds us of the important role our own singing hearts play in the web of relationships, connecting us to each other and the living world around us. 

You can connect with Li An Phoa and the Drinkable Rivers project at drinkablerivers.org.

And as always, thank you to the amazing singer and musician Peia, for allowing me to use her song The Old Ways Restored in the introduction to each podcast.  You can find her music at peiasong.com

3 thoughts on “#16 Li An Phoa; Singing Hearts and Drinkable Rivers”

  1. Loved this talk, love how Li An Phoa is dedicating her life to travelling down and up rivers to spread consciousness of how our actions affect these waterways. And as someone who is often searching for words in other languages, I salute her willingness to describe these actions in English — not her native tongue — to slowly summon up the precise words she needs to be clear in her messaging. And thank you Tim for getting the recording and then salvaging it above the chest-high water! My book is still not out: a long gestation period thanks to Covid-19!

  2. Hello, thank you so much for sharing this conversation, it had never appeared to me that drinking from rivers could be normal, yet it is and all life on earth should have access to clean water just like this! Such a powerful idea.

    When you mentioned salmon in the Rhine river, I remembered that I once heard a PhD of Forestry talk about how in the past the whole of Europe used to be a single huge habitat for salmon which travelled upstream every year to deposit their eggs and then be eaten by bears which then fertilized the forest soils upland in the watersheds. It might seem a subtle effect but imagine the megatons of fish being distributed this way on the forest soils over the millenia and imagine also that while rivers like the Rhine or Danube may seem thin linear elements in the landscape, they are fed by hundreds of smaller rivers which come from thousands and thousands of little creeks, and ultimately all land is tightly covered by this tree-like structure and thus connected to the oceans. It must have been a powerful nutrient pump that replaced natural nutrient losses of the forest soils before humans came and blocked virtually all the rivers for fish migration…

    If foresters new about this, maybe they would become equally interested in conserving their watershed all the way down until the ocean … 😉

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Alois! The role of salmon in indeed immensely important and commonly underestimated and at some point after the upcoming fire series and beaver series I have in mind to do an episode or series on salmon. Cheers!

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