Wild Rivers Camp 2017

Wild Rivers Camp 2017

From 22. to 28. September 2017 five Generation Earth members were lucky to participate at this year’s Wild Rivers Camp, an annual one week event, where youth from all around Europe gather to get active for rivers, this time in Slovenia. The camp is an initiative from the Youth Network for River Action, which Generation Earth is a partner of.

As we arrived in Bohinj, we were stunned by the surrounding landscape, because we were located in the heart of the beautiful Triglav national park. After a warm welcome from the camp organizers, some games and dinner together, the group started to get to know each other and everyone was excited for the following week.

The next morning, we started with some input: While a part of the group learned more about “What is a wild river?”, the others could learn about Riverwalking in a workshop prepared by three Generation Earth members.

The next few days were not less exciting: We exchanged our experiences about river action and learned from each other. We learned about successful social media strategies and discussed different ways of action. One of the most important parts was the creation of a Youth Manifesto for Wild Rivers, in which we stated our point of view, critique, demands, ideas and thoughts on the conservation, protection and restoration of rivers for decision makers and the writing of a letter to the Prime Minister of Montenegro, where plans for small hydropower plants threaten some of the last remaining, untouched rivers in Europe. Here we expressed our concerns about these plans and demanded a decision against the constructions.

Even though we worked and learned a lot, fun and relaxing time was abundantly given: We went rafting to explore the beautiful river Sava Bohinjka, went swimming and hiking to enjoy the beautiful landscape, enjoyed international food on the intercultural evening, made friends and ended these exciting days with campfires, songs and good talks.

Before we knew, our four days in amazing Bohinj were over and we headed to Ljubljana to spend the last three days of our camp in the lovely capital. In our free time, members of the Slovenian team gave us an exquisite tour around the city and showed us their favourite restaurants and bars.

However, we came to Ljubljana for another reason: We had a message to share! Because of that, we first arranged a flash mob in the city centre to spread flyers and raise awareness about the ambivalent topic of hydropower. Lead by professional dancers of the meraki project, we performed our river dance even twice, turning many heads for rivers. Our second action took us to the European Parliament where we presented our Manifesto to Slovenia’s representative of the European Commission and discussed with him about wild rivers. Later a part of the group had the opportunity to join a session at the SPARE water management meeting, where experts and representatives for five rivers in five different countries discussed the state of their pilot projects on participation on river management. After so many impressions, we returned to our hostel, where we worked together to prepare for our farewell party on the last evening together. One last time we celebrated the friendships and memories we made, and our prospering youth network for river action.

We ended our camp on the river bank of Ljubljanica river with a water ceremony. Full of inspiration, thoughts and new ideas we looked back on an amazing wild rivers week, happy and tired, already looking forward to the next year’s camp.

Let’s go rafting!! © Neža Posnjak
Sharing experiences at the lake © Neža Posnjak
A fresh swim in lake Bohinj © Neža Posnjak
Getting to know a wild river © Lucie Galland
Building a tarp © Jure Klancar
Water ceremony © Neža Posnjak

About the author

I participated at the Action Leader Training 2015/16 and and have been active with Generation Earth since then. I also deal with global, ecological, social and economic challenges in my studies, at work and in other networks. In this context, I ask myself the question of how we can reach a “good life for all”, in short, sustainability in all areas. What I really appreciate about Generation Earth is the positive network and the fact that I could participate at the great Wild Rivers Camp this year.

Magdalena

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