I am a drop of cold, clear water, melting, falling from snowfields on the roof of the Rocky Mountains. Tumbling, I become a rivulet, swept forward by a stream, slowed by mountain meadow, racing in swift current, absorbing tributary arteries, my vital strength building. I am azure as the bluebird; I am cutthroat trout, condor, beaver, and sandhill crane. My soul is life carried downstream in current; all life, however connected to my force. I can be fury or impounded stillness, my intention unwavering. In six million years, I have carved the greatest, deepest canyon through stone, creating one of earth’s most magnificent monuments. I am life-giving, but not infinite. I am the Colorado River. Listen to my story.
“The Colorado River is a waterway of superlatives - the most volatile supplies, the most iconic landscapes, the most dammed, the most litigated, and, lamentably, the most threatened. It is also a river of contrasts, encompassing thriving cities juxtaposed with large swaths of rural areas where many households lack clean drinking water, whitewater rapids providing challenge ands recreation upstream of a dried up estuary, and lush and lucrative farmland whose very viability is threatened by diminished supplies.” ~ Anne Castle, from the foreword of Living River
Against this backdrop of shrinking water supplies during the driest period of mega-drought in 1,200 years, with states deciding how deep to cut water allocations, I set out to tell a story of the Living River; the sacred, Indigenous, female Colorado River and her tributary arteries that pulse with dynamic life wherever she flows. There’s no way to reckon with the scale of our water dilemma unless we know where our water comes from; until we go to the river and feel her beating heart. The Colorado River needs more people to care, more river-keepers, a new narrative where we reimagine the possible, tell better stories, and change our relationship to water in the arid American West.
“There may just be enough water for people, wildlife, and life in flow. When we become the river.” ~ Dave Showalter from Living River
Living River is a new hardcover book and multimedia campaign in collaboration with Braided River, Walton Family Foundation, Audubon Rockies, LightHawk, The Nature Conservancy New Mexico, and more conservation partners.With publisher Braided River and our conservation partners, we are building a multi-year, scalable Living River campaign. In addition to our new conservation photography book, we are planning a traveling photo exhibit, presentations events, educational conservation programs, social and earned media, and a dynamic website. We believe an in-depth study of the remarkable wild heart of the Colorado, reimagining our relationship to water in the west, and a values-based vision for long-term resilience in the imperiled Colorado River watershed is the right story for this moment.