Healthy vibrant waterways make our communities better places to live
September 12, 2019 • 0 CommentBy Gemma Dunn, PhD, Sustainability Specialist and Consultant
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing with Mark Angelo— renowned river conservationist and founder of World Rivers Day—about his upcoming keynote presentation at the Ecocity World Summit 2019 in Vancouver next month.
Mark has many experiences around urban streams. He has travelled on more than 1,000 rivers throughout the globe, including paddling through the heart of the world's largest cities such as the Seine (Paris), Thames (London), Nile (Cairo) and the Buriganga (Dhaka). He has led numerous stream cleanups and environmental restoration efforts in both urban settings and elsewhere.
“Without question, healthy vibrant waterways make our communities better place to live”.
Mark is a champion of the Ecocity concept as he says “it highlights the importance of caring for waterways and water resources within cities, and the need to build or remake our cities in greater harmony with nature”. There are many pressures that confront waterways. “I think we are obligated to make our cities as sustainable and healthy as possible, particularly when you consider what life will be like in the next few decades. More than half the world’s population already live in urban areas and this will increase to two-thirds by 2050”.
During his keynote at the upcoming Ecocity Summit, Mark will take the audience on his personal, multi-decadal global journey, sharing stories and insights from some of his extraordinary exploits.
Mark’s interest in rivers and streams stems from his childhood. He spent much of his formative years exploring the gully’s and stream beds in Griffith Park (a 4,000 acre nature reserve) that was across the street from his family home in Los Angeles. His childhood home was also down the street from the severely damaged Los Angeles River, which is currently a concrete flood control channel. He explained how these early experiences with moving water taught him many lessons about the importance of rivers, and led him to pursue a career in river conservation to protect the “arteries of our planet”.
A key message Mark wants people to take away from his upcoming keynote presentation, “based on the stories and examples that I will share, there is reason for hope. We can make our cities better live”. Drawing on his specific urban rivers and streams restoration experiences “I want to emphasize the fact that we should never give up on any waterway. I think that is a message that is especially relevant to cities”.
Looking ahead he highlights the need for more “champions and advocates of the Ecocity concept; the more champions there are the better. We are starting to make some progress, and large events like the Ecocity Summit reflect this, but clearly there remains much work to be done.”
Mark Angelo will be speaking at the Ecocities World Summit in Vancouver, Canada between 7-11th October 2019. For more information, including conference registration, visit http://ecocity2019.com/
World Rivers Day will be on 22nd September 2019. For more information regarding events in your area visit https://worldriversday.com/
#Ecocity2019 #Vancouver #rivers #waterways #conservation