Today is World Rivers Day; a celebration of the world’s waterways, highlighting the many values of rivers; increasing public awareness of the threats they face and striving for improved stewardship of rivers around the world.
It seems very timely then, that just 10 days ago the UK’s Environment Agency released figures showing that ALL English rivers have failed to meet quality tests for pollution.
For the first time, no river has achieved good chemical status, suggesting pollution from sewage discharge, chemicals and agriculture are entering the water system and having a huge impact on river quality.
The data also shows that only 16% of waterways – that is rivers, lakes and streams – are classed as in ecological good health, the same as 2016.
Ali Morse, the chair of Blueprint for Water, said: “Healthy waters are essential for people and nature to survive, and for businesses to thrive, yet none of our rivers are now classed as being in good health. This affects our crops, our wildlife, the nature sites we love to visit, our water bills and so much more. We need the government to ensure we have the legal commitments, high standards, pollution prevention and funding to turn the tide for our rivers.”
The Mighty River children’s book debuts on World Rivers Day
In light of all this, some positive news — in the form of celebrating river biodiversity — comes with the announcement of a new book called The Mighty River.
Canadian-Taiwanese singer-songwriter Ginalina launches her first book, The Mighty River, today — and 10 per cent of every book sale will support the conservation of vital waterways through A ROCHA Canada Environmental Stewardship.
The illustrated children’s book celebrates river biodiversity, environmental care, and spending time with nature. It is inspired by the song “Save the Mighty River”, which was released with her Canadian Folk Music Awards and Western Canadian Music Awards-nominated album Small but Mighty.
The book introduces river ecosystems and biodiversity — highlighting many insect, plant, and animal species that are part of river biomes, all interspersed with children and adults spending time together in the outdoors.
“I have always been inspired by nature,” says Ginalina. “As a parent, it’s my hope that rivers will still be beautiful when my kids are grown and for future generations.
“I’m optimistic, yet know that there is important work ahead to protect the environment. Over the last 40 years, freshwater species have lost over 80 per cent of their population due to pollution, overfishing, habitat loss, and other reasons. We need caring hearts and bright minds to help change the story.”
The Mighty River is illustrated by American illustrator, Kelley Wills; published by Peppermint Toast Publishing; with an introduction written by Mark Angelo, river conservationist and founder of World Rivers Day.
Mark says; “Ginalina’s book The Mighty River showcases a great diversity of life that will hopefully inspire a new generation to explore nearby rivers and streams, learn about them, and ultimately, help us care for them. I am proud of my friend and fellow river-advocate, Ginalina, and am excited about this meaningful picture book.”
A story of inter-dependence
“At the centre of The Mighty River is a sense of inter-dependence – humans with humans, humans with nature, nature with animals, animals with rivers, rivers with humans, etc.” explains Ginalina.
The Mighty River introduces children to common and unique West Coast animals, brings attention to how rivers are integral to life, and shows rivers as special places in nature.
“I’m excited about making eco-literature for kids through engaging picture books and highlighting these relationships. I hope that, like a drop of water in the river, the intentions of this book might ripple into the lives of children and communities and into the environment.” added Ginalina.
Bite-sized facts from National Geographic are included at the end of the book, along with ideas on how to protect rivers, as contributed from over thirty children, e.g. “Clean up the garbage. It will help the fish be happy!” – Jasper, age 3.
“I am so grateful to be able to release this project right now,” Ginalina explains. “The creative process was meticulous and rewarding and it was an honour to work with my illustrator, Kelley Wills and my publishers at Peppermint Toast Publishing. I hope that readers will have fun with and enjoy all the details in The Mighty River!”
Save the Mighty River
The Mighty River book was inspired by Ginalina’s song “Save the Mighty River”, which can be heard below…
Ginalina would like to acknowledge Creative BC, FACTOR Canada, and the Canada Council for the Arts for their support in creating the song, “Save the Mighty River.”
Ginalina would also like to acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts in the creation of book, The Mighty River.