It’s finally June, and if the official onset of summer isn't enough of a reason to celebrate, June is also National Rivers Month! It arrives in conjunction with the time of the year when the value of clean waterways moves to the forefront of our minds. The heat of summer reminds us that it’s important to have clean drinking water, and let’s be honest, a clean swimming hole! We want to tube, raft and wade in our waterways, we want fresh sources of drinkable water, and we want the wildlife that inhabits our oceans, lakes, streams and rivers to be happy and healthy too. These are just a few of the reasons that we partner with 1% For The Planet to support American Rivers. The American Rivers Foundation is dedicated to the protection, restoration, and preservation of America’s rivers and waterways. They work to raise funds and awareness for the protection of our rivers, as well as take action to restore damaged waterways, and even spotlight our most urgently endangered rivers and call for positive change. One of their most notable initiatives is the American Rivers’ National River Cleanup®. Since 1991, their cleanup efforts have engaged more than 1.3 million volunteers, cleaned up 252,694 miles of waterways, and removed more than 25 million pounds of litter and debris! And this year, National River Cleanup® celebrates 25 years of this initiative.
To celebrate National Rivers Month and the 25th anniversary of National River Cleanup®, American Rivers is launching a campaign to encourage individuals to pledge to pick up 25 pieces of trash in 25 days. In explaining the campaign, National River Cleanup® Manager, Lowell George says, “This pledge isn’t restricted to river cleanups—we are asking communities to clean up their neighborhoods, their streets, and their parks to help prevent trash from reaching our waterways. We want people to know that what gets carried away with runoff and what goes down their storm drains has an impact on our water quality, and that they can help make a difference.” By participating in this clean up, you can make a real impact on improving the quality of bodies of water across our nation. And this is such an important cause! American Rivers gives us a few reasons why:
- Rivers and freshwater ecosystems are among the most imperiled on earth.
- Climate change is bringing more severe droughts and floods, putting increasing pressure on water resources across the country. More than one-third of all counties in the lower 48 states will face higher risks of water shortages by mid-century as a result of climate change.
- Pollution and habitat destruction threaten fish and wildlife and our own health and well-being.
- Forty-four percent of assessed waterways in the U.S. are too polluted for fishing and swimming, and forty percent of North America’s freshwater species are at risk of extinction.
Our rivers are truly in urgent need of our care and attention, and by helping we not only benefit mother earth, but also help improve our own quality of life. To inspire the nations' participation even more, American Rivers has added bit of friendly competition and asked that you use #RiverCleanup to tag any photos of your participation on social platforms. The tag will feed to their virtual landfill and you can see how much your state has contributed! Take the pledge today, and then challenge friends, family, colleagues, and more to join you in the improvement and protection of our waters!