Protecting the Vjosa, Europe’s last wild river

The Vjosa River is the final of its sort. The river and its tributaries stream uninterrupted from their headwaters within the mountains of Greece to Albania the place the Vjosa empties into the Adriatic Sea. It’s the solely main wild river system that exists in Europe right now and it has lengthy been imperiled by hydropower tasks that will destroy the tradition and ecology of the areas the river programs by. At present, over 30 completely different hydropower tasks are proposed on the Vjosa and its tributaries.

For greater than the final decade, a novel alliance of native activists, worldwide conservation teams, artists, scientists and on a regular basis people have fought again towards hydropower threats dealing with the Vjosa and have strived to completely defend the river by the institution of a wild river nationwide park, which might be the primary of its sort in all of Europe.

As a part of that effort, outside attire maker Patagonia lately launched a six-minute quick movie entitled Vjosa Eternally, which tells the story of the river, the perils it faces, and people combating to guard it. Patagonia first launched the Vjosa to worldwide audiences in 2018, within the movie Blue Coronary heart, a full-length documentary which depicted the struggle to guard the wild rivers of the Balkans (in any other case referred to as the ‘Blue Coronary heart’ of Europe) from a staggering variety of 3,400 proposed hydropower tasks. Of the rivers and streams that stream by Europe’s Blue Coronary heart, the Vjosa is the biggest and wildest.

A lot of the Vjosa’s destiny is tied up in Albania’s upcoming elections this April. Although the present administration introduced in September 2020 its intention to ascertain protections for the Vjosa, activists and conservation teams near the difficulty worry that these pledges could also be degrading. Regardless, with the potential for a brand new authorities in little greater than a month, what comes subsequent for the Vjosa is intertwined with Albania’s political future. It’s round this actuality that native and worldwide conservation teams equivalent to EcoAlbania, RiverWatch and EuroNatur, attire maker Patagonia, and numerous of the 94 p.c of Albanians that assist everlasting protections for the Vjosa are rallying to demand the institution of a wild river nationwide park.

Picture: Andrew Burr

“The Vjosa miraculously survived the a long time of destruction in Europe; it´s a present to all of us. And it’s, subsequently, not solely an Albanian duty to guard it, but in addition a European duty. This wild river nationwide park can be an immense achievement for conservation efforts in Europe, and, at an EU stage, it can make an actual and important contribution to the EU Biodiversity Technique and the EU Inexperienced Deal,” mentioned Ulrich Eichelmann, CEO of Riverwatch.

To assist elevate consciousness and name folks to motion, Patagonia launched the quick movie, ‘Vjosa Eternally’ and lately launched the social media marketing campaign, #VjosaNationalParkNow. You’ll be able to view the total movie above.

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