PUTTING ACTION INTO THE DAY OF ACTION ~ DBP photo contest to supportInternational Rivers. by Mike Toughill

We are once again pleased to be officially involved with International Rivers’ “Day of Action For Rivers”, today Monday March 14. River lovers around the world are participating in various events to show support, spread awareness, and do good deeds. Scores of participants from dozens of countries have organized globally.
We thought, with our following so widespread, that it would be difficult to do a hands on event like that. So instead we thought we could contribute to spreading awareness by getting action photos of our kind of river people, from regions and countries all over the world, shared and collected in one place, and get folks everywhere thinking about their streams and the importance of clean water, climate change, and responsible stewardship. 
International Rivers is “at the heart of the global struggle to protect rivers and the rights of communities that depend on them.
We work with an international network of dam-affected people, grassroots organizations, environmentalists, human rights advocates and others who are committed to stopping destructive river projects and promoting better options.
We seek a world where healthy rivers and the rights of local communities are valued and protected. We envision a world where water and energy needs are met without degrading nature or increasing poverty, and where people have the right to participate in decisions that affect their lives.”
The Day of Action takes on added importance this year. From the International Rivers website: “March 14 is a day of action, and a day to celebrate the rivers we love. This year it must also be a day to celebrate those who love rivers, and a day to take action to make sure our movement’s sacrifices have not been in vain.
If you’ve been following International Rivers’ news updates, you’ll know that on March 2, Berta Cáceres—Honduran anti-dam activist, Goldman Prize winner, and longtime partner to International Rivers—was assassinated. While we may never know exactly what transpired on that awful day, it’s likely that she was killed to silence her effective and passionate activism. As co-founder of the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Honduras (COPINH)—a group that led campaigns against dams, illegal loggers and plantation owners—Berta was a high profile indigenous leader, and had received threats over many years. Her murder has unleashed protests in Honduras and widespread condemnation internationally. Take a moment to add your voice, and demand justice for Berta.
Berta joins an all-too-long list of dam activists whose lives have been cut short, and an even longer list of river defenders who’ve been jailed or beaten, had their rights violated, their communities and families threatened or abused. In the often oppressive political environments that give rise to large dams, there is little tolerance for community organizing or opposition to such projects. Time after time, we see big dam projects constrain democracy and civil liberties the same way they constrain rivers: with brute force and walls of secrecy. 
Over the 20 years I worked for International Rivers, I came to know many remarkable, dedicated activists who knew that if their river was dammed, their community and the environment they depended on would suffer. And so they put their lives on the line and took on powerful forces, doing what it takes to get politically unconnected peoples’ voices heard in high places, and their concerns addressed. So many people have shown such incredible bravery in this movement to protect rivers.
But not every threatened community is able to take such actions. For many, the risks are too great, local resources too stretched, the government too aggressive in its squashing of opposition. In such places, one of the first things to go is often a free press. In such places, should someone be murdered, “disappeared,” jailed or beaten for their opposition to a dam or similar environmental insult, there is little chance we’d see the kind of media coverage that Berta’s death has brought.
Our rivers need us to speak out for them. And our friends who’ve died, and their families, deserve our loving recognition, and a day of remembrance.
So please make time on March 14 to celebrate the Day of Action, and to commemorate those who have given their all in the defense of rivers. Light a candle for them, and for the rivers we’ve lost as well. And vow to support the effort to protect the rivers that keep this watery planet healthy and green.
We are many, and together we’re as strong as the Amazon, the Mekong, the Rio Blanco, the Omo and the Zambezi. A luta continua!”
Day Of Action on Facebook-

We at DBP MAGAZINE ONLINE and the entire Dirt Bag Paddlers family are pleased to present: “PUTTING ACTION INTO THE DAY OF ACTION!” These photos will join scores of others being uploaded by the IR staff from all over the world! Please check out the full album on Flickr, and consider donating or volunteering to this important non-profit organization.
The following in no particular order are the entries to the contest, from dirtbag paddlers all over the world! 

We are pleased to announce Philip Byard as the winner of the contest. All contestants’ names were tossed in a hat, and Philip’s name was drawn! He wins a ballcap from our friends at Cascade River Gear, a 2016 calendar from American Whitewater, and a slew of stickers from all over. Congrats! 

Today, to celebrate the Day of Action, fellow DBP Admin Dale #danewho Guarniere and I got out to paddle the high water Peshtigo River here in Silver Cliff, WI. The river was awesome, a pushy icy +14. We were the only ones out there. Yesterday, the first day anyone has run this year, we had encountered much more ice. This is the earliest the Peshtigo has ever opened, clear proof of climate change. This was the warmest winter on record in Wisconsin, and just today a report was released saying the world temperature was 4.5 degrees higher than average! The changing climate will affect boating this year for sure. 
It’s also a shame that this river wasn’t granted Wild and Scenic status like the nearby Pike River back in the 70’s. What was once a fairly remote adventure when I first started boating is now a paddle past one cabin-castle after another. Those folks are nice people, but it does detract from the natural beauty. 
I think about things like this when its Day of Action. But mostly, I give thanks for the good clean water of my favorite river, with only Northwoods wilderness upstream, and smash the next hole. Hope you got out to enjoy your stretch! 

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