Sandra Steingraber

"I think that one of the big misconceptions about rivers is the idea that they are contained within the banks that they flow in, when in fact the life of a river encompasses the entire watershed in which it is part. So that the rain that falls upstream from us becomes the rivers, the rivers themselves empty into the great lakes, they empty into the Mississippi, they flow. And the groundwater which are these big underground basins themselves discharge into rivers. So that protecting rivers means paying attention, being mindful of all the activities that go on in the basin around the actual river itself that flows through its channels.

"So I think it's time for us as a culture when we look out at that ribbon of water flowing through a bank to realize that what we're seeing is only a tiny piece of a great web of flowing water, some of which are going underground and feeding that river, some of which are rain moving down or snowmelt moving down from the surrounding hills into that river. And to protect the river means to protect the land around the river as well."