On June 17th, a charity dance event for the benefit of Balkan Rivers will be held at the Schmelz in Vienna. Several groups invite you to get to know folk dances from all over Europe and beyond. Admission is free; any voluntary donation will benefit the campaign "Balkan Rivers - Save the Blue Heart of Europe".

Water sampling and measurements of primary production at the Shushica, a tributary to the Vjosa in the far east, where snowmelt is long gone. The river is characterized by large boulders and crystal-clear water. © Thuile-Bistarelli

Between April 17th and May 6th, eleven scientists went on an expedition to collect data on biodiversity as well as ecosystem functions for the entire Vjosa river network. With great effort, 300 river kilometers were sampled by use of the most state-of-the-art methods and equipment. The Vjosa’s exceptional value was confirmed once more:

Shkopet dam on the Mat River in Albania. © Goran Šafarek

So what the hell is water? Is it rare or common, generous or dangerous? Is it OK to drink water-intensive sodas and wear water-filled jeans? Is it important that our rivers are still clean enough to swim in? Should oil pipelines cross freshwater streams? Should rivers be used as hydroelectric generators?

Patagonia founder Yvon Chouindard is an avid fisherman © Jeremy Koreski

Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard has written an article about hydropower that is meant to rip the green-bandage off this outdated and harmful technology. It has already been covered by several media, such as Huffington Post or Focus and is featured on Patagonia’s blog The Cleanest Line. Enjoy!

The new documentary “Blue Heart” follows our campaign and other, local stakeholders through the Balkans to document the crime committed on Europe’s last river jewels and on communities who live by them. Watch the trailer below an discover the Blue Heart in this story map.

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