Last night, I had the opportunity to…

Last night, I had the opportunity to...

Last night, I had the opportunity to share the story of the Ganges River with the amazing community here at @proctoracademy. It’s a tough story to tell, not so much because of its vast intricacy, detail, and complexity, but more because of its seeming hopelessness. As @pedromcbride, @davidcmorton, and I made our way source to sea in 2013, and later as Pete and I put the film together, we were constantly faced with the bleakness of the subject. As the Ganges weaves its way some 1,600 miles from the Gangotri to Ganga Sagar, it’s assaulted at every turn: she receives an estimated 1 billion liters of untreated, raw sewage per day…a drop in the bucket compared to the unknown quantities of heavy metals, toxic chemicals, and other industrial effluents discharged into the river daily. Ma Ganga is dammed and diverted, harnessed and harassed from her very start to the point where she kisses the sea at the Bay of Bengal, her banks tattered, unique species like the susu – or Ganges River Dolphin – and the golden mahseer are threatened with extinction, and receding glaciers and a rapidly changing climate are constant threats to the river’s very existence. But, despite all that, within the complex weft and warp of the Ganges story, there is hope. It lies in the passions of environmental crusaders like Sunita Narain, who work to figure out Indian-specific solutions to Indian water problems, rather than square-peg-round-holing foreign solutions to fit. Hope lies in the faithful dedication of religious leaders like @pujyaswamiji at @parmarthniketan who, through @gangaaction, are bringing the Hindu community to action on issues facing India’s rivers. And, it lies in heroic moves like that taken 3 weeks ago by the Indian state of Uttarakhand in granting human status to both the Yamuna and Ganges Rivers. But, mostly, my hope lies in the hearts of people like this man, Raj, a humble boat pilot who took us to the sacred confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna, and Saraswati Rivers at Allahabad (Prayag). Raj is not a pundit or politician; he’s but a simple man with a dependence on, and passion and reverence for, the Ganges. [continued below]

Triveni Sangam Prayag Allahabad UP

View this photo in Jake Norton & MountainWorld’s Instagram ⇒

About the Author : Jake NortonClimber, guide, photographer, speaker, founder of www.Challenge21.com, and - most importantly - husband and father.View all posts by Jake Norton

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