There isn’t a better way to get people to care about something than to have them experience it.

And when Travis Winn went to the Tibet region of China, he noticed what people hadn’t experienced was the river flowing through their own backyards. So we’re heading there on this Saturday’s Around the World to see how he’s gotten people into the Salween River while it’s still here!

Image: Person kayaking through some rocks

Source: Pixabay

It can be hard to separate the benefits from the losses when it comes to damming a river. The structures are built for a reason; they make it easier for us to travel, create energy, and retain water for consumption. But then, of course, there’s the flip side—you’re losing a river.

Free flowing rivers are majestic, powerful entities that have the ability to connect us to nature in ways that nothing else can. Well, that is, if you’re able to experience them.

So Travis Winn is helping people do just that.

There’s been talk of damming the Salween River for some time now, so, he and the program Last Descents have been helping people get in there and experience it in its natural state before it’s too late. 1 This beautiful piece from NRS Films shows us what he’s doing and how this is affecting the people who visit!

We’ve paired this video with thought-provoking discussion questions perfect for the classroom in this touchstone on our education platform, EWCed!

It’s important to notice what Travis says about the children—because they’ll soon become the leaders in the world. Even if this river doesn’t make it, they’ll have experienced what rivers have to offer us. And the more experiences we offer our children, the more informed they’ll be to make choices for us all in the future.

14 minutes

Forest Kindergarten: Challenging All Our Instincts!

When was the last time you saw pre-schoolers gleefully playing in a muddy ditch or climbing in a tall tree? Turns out that encouraging that sort of thing might be a giant leap forward in education! Take a look...

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Rivers are the veins of the world.

And you don’t want to block them. They have the ability to connect us and transport food and nutrients to the people and creatures living along their shores. If we lose them, who else will be affected? Not only will we no longer be able to kayak through their rapids, but we’ve all seen what happens when a part of an ecosystem no longer performs in its natural ways.

When you build a house of cards and one card falls out… what happens? If you need a reminder, take a look at this following article. It shows, rather beautifully, how truly connected everything is.

14 minutes

Have You Hugged an Apex Predator Today?

Did you know that whale poop can slow climate change, wolves can change rivers, and the sand from China's Gobi Desert is now reaching the United States? It's all about those apex predators and keystone species!

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With so many new ways to generate energy that don’t have a lasting effect on the earth, are we still living in a time where dams are necessary? Haven’t we developed the capabilities to create what we need in sustainable ways?

Stories of leaders like Travis Winn act as a welcomed reminder that there are people out there working to keep us connected to the natural world. It’s easy to get swept up into our societies today, but it’s best not to forget what we’re a part of.

“Our vision at Last Descents is simple. We believe that by bringing people to the rivers of western China, and showing them a once in a lifetime experience, that we can create a reason to preserve them. If we persist, some of these rivers will be saved for the enjoyment of generations to come.” 3

Want to learn more about Travis and what Last Descents is up to? They’re bringing people to more than just the Salween River. Just jump on over to their website to discover more! You can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

If you’re looking for a few more rivers to jump into, may I suggest one of these?

4 minutes

Don’t Miss the Rainbow River

For a short amount of time every year, the conditions in Colombia are perfect for a rainbow to bloom in the river, Caño Cristales.

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8 minutes

Discovering the Life Flowing through the Grand Canyon

The natural wonders of the world have a lot more to offer than just beauty! Let’s discover what we can learn from the river that flows through the Grand Canyon and the people who live in its surrounding area. How are they connected?

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Bonus: What happens when a river is dammed? And what happens when that dam is removed?

This fantastic video from National Geographic gives us a look into the biggest dam removal in U.S. history! If you have a few moments, please take a peek.

As always, stay open to new possibilities!

  • Sam

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” —Albert Einstein 

Looking to explore more amazing parts of this world?

See where we’ve been on past Saturday’s by clicking the button below…

Saturday’s Around the World on EWC

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  1. “Current Status of Dams on the Salween River – February 2016.” International Rivers, Salween Watch, 29 Feb. 2016, Accessed 3 Oct. 2018.
  2. “Salween Spring.” Vimeo, NRS Films, 21 Mar. 2016, Accessed 3 Oct. 2018.
  3. Last Descents River Expeditions, Accessed 25 Oct. 2018.
  4. “After Largest Dam Removal in U.S. History, This River Is Thriving | National Geographic.” YouTube, National Geographic, 2 June 2016, Accessed 24 Oct. 2018.

Sam Burns

Editor in Chief

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.