Prva sobota v avgustu je bila v dolini Soče priložnost, da združite prijetno s koristnim; zabavo s protestom.
Učja in Soča Flotilla je začela BRT3 Pre-Party ob 9:30uri in bila dokaz, da je zares veliko ljudi pripravljenih pokazati svojo podporo prosto tekočim rekam. Ti reki poganjajata lokalno gospodarstvo, domišljijo in zdrave ekosisteme; vsi na in ob Soči to dopoldne so jima bili pripravljeni stopiti v bran ter stopiti mednju in SENG, ki ju želi uničiti zaradi ozkogledih finančnih interesov. Več kot 300 vsakdanjih ljudi, kajakašev, rafterjev, turistov in pohodnikov je združilo moči v tolmunu Kreda, ter tako omogočilo barvito akcijo polno čustev in odločnosti. Dogodek so podprli mnogi mediji, ki so zgodbo spravili med ljudi širom Slovenije. Prav naša odločnost in odmevnost dogodka je SENG prisilila, da je prvič po 7 letih podal izjavo na nacionalni televiziji, ter se javno opredelil do problema tudi v izjavi za javnost.
Njihova izjava za javnost je bila direktna, groba in odkrito na osebnem nivoju. Čeprav nas to ni presenetilo, smo vseeno od družbe – ki naj bi delovala v interesu države in s tem večine – pričakovali bolj civiliziran javni diskurz. Sedaj je jasno, da se je SENG premišljeno pozicioniral na stran gradnje MHE Učja in izrabe Zgornje Soče. Odkrito trdijo, da se ne bodo odpovedali planom za izgradnjo teh projektov, mi pa še bolj suvereno trdimo, da se ne bomo vdali. Obeta se nam torej zanimiva prihodnost!
Zatem smo ta prijeten in provokativen protest, ki je zbral več kot 300 ljudi iz 23 držav, enostavno morali proslaviti v stilu. Združili smo moči s Kampom Koren in pivovarno Bevog ter organizirali prvi Beer Mile izziv v Sloveniji. S 50 tekači iz 7 držav na prvem tovrstnem dogodku je bila to dirka in pol. Tekmovalci so tekli za reke! Mnogo taktike, bruhanja in smeha je na koncu dalo zmagovalca Kruščico in zmagovalko Korano, še bolj navdihujoče pa je bilo dejstvo, da je bil to končno dogodek, kjer je bilo zares pomembno sodelovati in ne le zmagati! Tekmovalci so si potem privoščili osvežitev v hladni Soči, gledalci pa so sedli na klopi in tla, ter si ogledali film The Blue Heart.
Kmalu smo se vsi ponovno zbrali ob viru golaža in piva. Podivjani Smetnaki nas s Ska-punkom niso spravili le gibanje, pač pa divje skakanje z moshpitom, in šele ko so bile zvezde in luna že visoko na nebu, smo prekrasno utrujeni popadali v šotore.
Če je bil BRT3 Pre-party dogodek in pol, kakšen bo šele Balkan Rivers Tour 3? No, izgleda obetavno. Pridružite se nam le za dan ali cel mesec, veslajte z nami le na 1 reki ali vseh 12 in delite svoj glas na zgolj enem ali vseh protestih. Dobrodošli ste, da podelite glas za naravo, za domačine ob teh izjemnih rekah in proti pohlepu, ki bi tako rad uničil še tisto malo pristnega, kar nam je ostalo. Se vidimo!
If you want to protest and party, the Soča Valley was the place on Saturday August 4th.
The Učja and Soča Flotilla kicked of the BRT3 Pre-Party at 9:30AM and was a proof that there are loads of people ready to show their support for free flowing rivers. These rivers fuel local economy, imagination and healthy ecosystems and everyone on the water was ready to stand up to the greed of Slovenian energy company, SENG, who want to destroy the Učja and Soča rivers for their narrow minded personal and financai interests. More than 300 everyday people, kayakers, rafters, tourists and hikers joined forces at the calm Kreda pool mid-way down the river, to make this colourful and meaningful direct action happen. National TV was there and so were many other media outles that got the story across to the whole country. This protest and the attention it gathered forced SENG into publicly commenting our demands, for the first time after 7 years of silence.
Their public statement was straight forward and harsh, openly on a personal level. While this did not surprise us, we did expect a more civilized and respectful response from a company that should operate to the benefit of the majority. It’s clear now that SENG is really on the other side of public interest and their statement saying they won’t give up on their HPP plans in Upper Soča Valley has motivated us to not give up but step up the pressure to remove these plans for good. The future looks interesting indeed!
After a successful and provoking protest that gathered people from more than 23 countries we simply had to celebrate in style and make sure that spirits were lifted even before the start of Balkan Rivers Tour 3. So we teamed up with Kamp Koren and Bevog Brewery to organize the first ever Slovenian Beer Mile Challenge. With 50 runners from 7 countries at our inaugural event this was quite a race! People were running for rivers. Lots of tactics, vomiting and laughs produced the winners Kruščica River and Korana River and it was more than obvious this event was not about the winning but taking part are running for a river! Competitors then enjoyed the dip in crystal clear and cold Soča while spectators sat down to see the Blue Heart film projection.
Everybody rejoined later at the source of goulash and beer, seasoned by the sounds of crazy ska-punk band Smetnaki. Young and enthusiastic they not only got us dancing but jumping high in the air till the late hours when we fell down perfectly tired after a day to remember.
If the Pre-Party event was a day to remember, we wonder what the Balkan Rivers Tour will be like? Well it sure looks promising. Come join us just for a day or for the whole month. Paddle one river or all 12 and share your voice at one protest or all of them, you are welcome to give a voice to nature and help locals that live next to these stunning rivers. Cheers!
By Mitja Legat, Katja Pokorn, Katja Jemec and Carmen Kuntz
Balkan Rivers Tour will take place in autumn this year. So instead of making After-Party in cold and rainy November we are making Pre-Party in hot and sunny August.
We will use this party and get toghether as a chance to apply pressure to SENG (Soča Hydropower Plants Company) and demand that they finally cancel plans for the dams on Učja River and upper Soča River.
How? With a big flotilla of rafts and kayaks!
Where? On the Soča River between Srpenica and Trnovo.
Since hard work and creative action should always be awarded… we will make a party afterwards! In the evening we will gather in Kamp Koren to compete with a reason and with style in a Beer Mile event. Run 4x400meters and chug 4 Bevog beers to see who is wisest, not fastest…how good is that! Then we will all sit down to see the film Blue Heart and then the grand finale of the day – the announcement of Balkan Rivers Tour 3, followed by a concert and bonfire.
You can probably find an excuse not to come. But we deeply advise you to avoid excuses, since regret is one of the worst emotions. Insead, join activism, river time, beer running, a movie night and dancing to cool tunes at Soča valley with us.
9:30 – 10:00 Meet up at Srpenica 1 Put In
10:00 – 12:00 Flotilla from Sprenica 1 – Trnovo
20:00 Evening event kicks off in Kamp Koren Kobarid
20:15 Bevog Beer Mile Challenge
21:00 Blue Heart Film screening
21:45 Announcement of BRT 3
22:00 – 24:00 Party with live music
Saturday, August 4th 2018 at 10:00 AM
Soča River between Srpenica 1 Put In and Trnovo 1 Take Out
So that we can join forces and show we don’t need and don’t want dam on Učja and Upper Soča River. It is time to demand from SENG to cancel the plans for hydro power plants on these beautiful river stretches.
HOW CAN YOU JOIN IN?
Simple; we (kayakers, kayak schools, rafting agencies with rafts packed with tourists) all meet between 9:30 and 10:00 AM at Srpenica 1 Put In and we start the trip to Trnovo. At 10:20 AM we will all gather in Kreda pool, make a cool drone shot and then paddle downstream in a caravan. It is you that will make this event efficient; the more people on the water the stronger the message and more serious the demand to SENG.
We will provide basic briefing before the start and 1 banner with message in style NO DAMS, STOP DESTRUCTION etc. for each boat. Anyhow it would be great if you make your own banner and use your own message!
Soča Valley, its inhabitants and outdoor agencies literally live of of this amazing river and its tributaries. Despite the fact that Soča upstream of Tolmin was protected with a special legislation way back in 1976, there are still ideas for new dams popping up from certain individuals and companies. These projects would agressively cut into these ecosystems and opportunities for active tourism in the valley. We here again demand from decision makers to cancel these dam plans for good; Soča already has 7 big HPP and there are 20 small HPP on its tributaries in Slovenia. This flotilla is a chance to show support to the river and say definite no to unneccessary exploitation. Let’s bring individuals, nations, agencies and municipalites together in joint idea to protect this paradise for good!
You can confirm your participation via e-mail email@example.com or with message on FB event BRT3 Pre-Party event.
Na zadnji dan junija, na prelepo sobotno jutro, smo združili moči z malo verjetnim partnerjem – skejterji na dogodku Rolka 7. Zakaj? Da bi dokazali, da naravovarstvo nima meja, omejitev in fiksnih idej; da bi pokazali da je prava zabava in rock’n’roll!
Blejsko jezero je na 45 plovilih gostilo 50 ljudi, ki so podporo divjim rekam Slovenije izkazali z vesli dvignjenimi visoko v zrak. Kajaki, veslaški enojci, kanu, SUPi, pletni in flamingo. To ni bil protest. To je bila kreativna akcija. Akcija, s katero smo korumpiranim politikom dali vedeti, da je dovolj uničevanja. Da naj prenehajo z forsiranjem Akcijskega narčta obnovljivih virov Slovenije, ki bi, tak kot trenutno je, odprl vrata za dokončno uničenje zadnjih koščkov prosto tekočih rek na sončni strani Alp. Za rešitev energetske in podnebne krize? Ne, za povečanje dobička nekaterih. Zato smo spisali odprto pismo Vladi Republike Slovenije ter povabili posameznike in organizacije k podpisu le-tega. Odprto pismo bomo predali takoj, ko se bodo naši vrli politiki uskladili glede delitve vlog v novi vladi. Do takrat pa zbiramo podpise za reke in proti pohlepu, za razum in proti nepremišljenim odločitvam. Tako naj bi se uporabljali vzvodi demokracije, pa preverimo, če to razumejo tudi njeni predstavniki.
Če bi kot organizacija radi dodali svoj podpis in logotip pod ODPRTO PISMO VLADI RS: SKUPAJ ZA REKE prosim pošljite mail na firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vlada Republike Slovenije
ODPRTO PISMO VLADI RS: SKUPAJ ZA REKE
Spodaj podpisani posamezniki in organizacije od vlade Republike Slovenije zahtevamo, da ustavite vse plane in načrte, ki predvidevajo uničenje zadnjih koščkov divjih rek, ki so nam še ostali v Sloveniji. Reke so javno dobro in kot take ne smejo biti prepuščene na milost ali nemilost interesom peščice. Vemo, da predlagane velike in male hidroelektrarne ne bodo rešile problema energetske krize; četudi zgradite 19 velikih HE in 100 malih HE, in s tem dokončno uničite naše vodotoke, to ne bo pripomoglo k reševanju podnebnih sprememb, niti zmanjšalo porabo fosilnih goriv. Povzročena pa bo nepopravljiva škoda nam državljanom. Dovolj je bilo destrukcije; od vas zahtevamo, da opustite plane za izgradnjo novih HE in s tem omogočite razvoj trajnostnega rečnega turizma, ki bo lokalnim skupnostim prinesel mnogo več kot agresivni razvoj za potrebe energentov.
On the last day of June, on a beautiful Saturday morning we have joined forces with unlikely partner – skateboarders! Why? To prove nature conservation has no guidelines, limits and borders, to show its true fun and rock’n’roll!
Scenic Bled lake saw 50 people in 45 vessels rising paddles high up in the air in defence of Wild Rivers of Slovenia. Kayaks, rowing single sculls, canoe, SUP, traditional pletnas and flamingo. This wasn’t a protest. It was an creative action. Action to tell corrupt and confused Slovenian government to stop pushing forward a law called ANOVE. This draft of law that would open access to destruction of last pristine river stretches in Slovenia is poorly done, not legitimate and generally a highway to nature conservation hell in order to maximise profits of some. This is why we composed an open letter to Slovenian government, asked people and organizations to sign it and in next few weeks we will hand it over. This is how to use leverage democracy offers, lets see if it work in reality.
FOTOGRAFIJE (Aerial: Mitja Legat/LegitFilms, Land and Water: Katja Jemec)
Woho! We are joyfully announcing what we hope will become the biggest and most effective action so far – Balkan Rivers Tour 3! A month full of film premiers, paddling and protests! Sign up for newsletter to stay up-to-date with all news regarding the tour and get ready. Cheers!
Direct link to program here: https://balkanriverdefence.org/program
See you on and next to the river!
Like everyone and everything we are also facing evolution. 2018 will be a big year for Balkan rivers and for us. We are turning a page in what is now becoming a thick book with new name that gives much better insight and explanation into what we are all about. Here is a little interpretation on why and how:
We started Balkan Rivers Tour flying by the seat of our pants. What took off as a crazy idea turned into the biggest (and most fun) river conservation action in Europe. We started by touring the Balkans to raise awareness about the stunning, wild rivers that call the Balkan Peninsula home. We paddled, partied and played along the way meeting locals, people deeply connected to these rivers for hundreds of years and many generations. After two years and two tours, BRT has evolved past just a ‘tour’ and has turned into a movement. A movement in defence of wild rivers. It’s time to take on a new name, but to carry on the same mission; defending wild rivers of Balkans.
Which is why we are changing our name to BALKAN RIVER DEFENCE (BRD).
Balkan Rivers Tour (BRT) will still exist, but it will represent the annual paddling and protesting ‘Tour” we take through the Balkans. BRD is the group; the family, the hand. BRT is the event; the party, the megaphone.
Things should always end with a nice get together and party. To celebrate the completed tour we teamed up with Soča Outdoor Festival and Kamp Koren to provide best venues for best actions on the banks of Soča.
We have brought another edition of Balkan Rivers Tour to reality. It was different than the first edition. Is was not that big, that is for sure, but it was more focused. With two river systems paddled from source to sea we showed what a river truly is. How it travels from mountains down to the sea and connects these two seemingly unconnected ecosystems.
Action on Soča exposed the negative effects of dams and it was really painful to see experience that from a kayak. On the other hand action on Morača was so invigorating; 200 kilometers in a kayak trough 2 rivers and one big lake without a single dam, well it was just amazing.
Our adventures in Dinaric Alps brought this forgotten pearl of European mountains to public and we hope many will decide to go there and enjoy its pristine vibe in next years, this way supporting local sustainable tourism and resistance against aggressive development.
All in all we did it again. With the help of all of you we managed to bring the topic of unnecessary dam craze to front pages of regional and national media, we brought people behind the same table, organized some creative protests, did lots of kayaking and on top of all we had fun doing that.
Here is Balkan Rivers Tour 2 in numbers:
Lets hold fingers crossed we can make the third edition happen in 2018!
There is a special connection formed, between a paddler and a river, when it’s paddled from source to sea. Seeing the changes of the rock formation and vegetation. From alpine shrubs and rock gardens, to stark canyon walls with dancing grasses and fig trees, the changes are visible but also tangible. The air and the light changes; the volume and the power of the river too. This power is something that as kayakers, we seek. We respect and we cherish. But for other, for people who haven’t been deep within the canyon walls, for people who haven’t felt the euphic freedom of a perfectly executed boof, this power is seen as something to be harnessed and sold.
The Balkan Rivers team was lucky to have the chance to experience Montenegro’s mighty Morača River in this way. They built a relationship with the river. They gained respect during the 1.5 days paddling the continuous, bony flows of the upper Morača. Low water levels provided challenges of their own, but also revealed the potential of this technical river at higher flows. Humility and wonder grew from the fun drops and sections of playful whitewater in the middle portion of the river. These class II-IV rapids are intermittent with mellow sections of flow, where paddlers drift through sprinkling waterfalls, and stare up at the hundred foot canyon walls. And an admiration was fostered for all the life that the waters of Lake Skadar feeds.
Interacting with locals along the way, it’s clear to see what this river means to the people who are still living in close connection with nature. A fisherman along the side of the river talked about how just a few years ago he caught a eel in these waters, proving that this species, which migrates from the coast of Canada, was able to travel unobstructed, to the canyons of the Morača. This is significant as traveling high into a watershed via a river is something that is impossible on so many European rivers now because of dams. BRT hopes that by sharing these stories, and the images of the Morača, we can help give the river a voice and the people fighting for it some extra momentum.
On day 4 of the Morača Action, BRT brought together a number of different groups and organizations fighting to protect the Morača. This was the first meeting of it’s kind, and the round table vibe of the meeting, and causal dinner and drinks atmosphere allowed for networking and discussion about how groups can work together for the common purpose of saving the Morača from the 4 major dams proposed to be built on the river, and the many slated to be constructed on the tributaries. Groups that participated include Za vode podgorice ,Rijeka je zivot, NGO Peručica and many individuals that are not part of formal NGO or organizations but that are also resisting the dams.
Montenegro has been identified as one of the sunniest countries in Europe. If we can develop and design dams that are hundreds of meters high, surely we can design solar and wind power that can harness the power of the natural world, without destruction. The BRT team physically experience this power in each country it visited; the high winds of the Pindus Mountains of Greece, and the strong sunshine in Albania and Montenegro.
These are forms of energy production respect nature, and don’t destroy it. These are the kinds of alternatives that we want to see included in dialogue. If we can show the tourism potential of these rivers, and offer alternative ways of producing energy, maybe the next generation can paddle, fish and swim in the wild waters of the Balkans. BRT aims to destroy the myth that hydro energy is green and clean and sustainable. We want to share with the people – with paddlers and locals alike – that success can come from hard work and perseverance protecting a river. The recent success story of the Vjosa battle as a court case has just showcased that it can be done even thought it sometimes seems close to impossible! Hats off to all involved in this passionate and sincere fight for the right!
Once again we proved that we can have power in decision making if only we decide for that and lift our asses from sofas and do something. At the end it is as simple as that – If you love a place you have a duty to protect it. Get out, experience Mama Earth and help her!
It is on! Tomorrow we are starting with Morača – Skadar Lake – Bojana River paddle event. Check the program here (only change is DAY 4 – instead of end of paddling in Vranjina we will paddle till Virpazar, restauran Silistria tripadvisor Restaurant Review) and join us!
“Experiencing this amazing valley on skis, in waders and in a kayak brings you closer to nature and realization how complete she is. Valbona river is the vein of the valley, the essence, as she transports all information from the highest of peaks to the lush forests right at the bottom of it. She makes sure the cycle keeps on going like it was in the last millions of years. Local people have always acknowledged that in many legends and cherished her flows but now new age of money dwelling leaders set their feet in this eden, trying to take advantage of this same invigorating flow. It is time to raise our voice and take a stand for what is right!” Rok Rozman
Bulldozers invade paradise. Backed by current Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, decision makers are skipping laws and policy, going straight to clear cutting the pristine riverside forest and blasting banks with dynamite. These big fellas are ignoring the resistance inside Valbona Valley National Park, appetites set on big profits with small hydropower plants. Take a moment and imagine this was happening in your backyard; what would you do? If the answer is act, then add yourvoice. Together we have to be the voice of the river. Tell Edi Rama what you think on Facebook, and Twitter. Voice your opinion. Put pressure on the Albanian government to halt construction by SHARING this film and TAGGING Edi Rama and #mosmaprekvalbonen.
The Valbona River needs your help right now. The bulldozers are running everyday. Time is not on our side, we need act now.
Donations to support the legal action against the dams can be made here http://toka-albania.org/join-us/.
TOKA NGO donation money transfer details. If you feel like helping from far away just put in the amount you would buy a beer for!
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