By Winthrop Rodgers
Can the Tigris and Euphrates be saved?
When spring hits its full stride in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, hillsides turn from brown to green almost overnight. Seasonal streams course with water, creating a network of tributaries that flow into the historic Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
On a Friday in March, Nabil Musa led a group of young people out into nature for a hike. It was, for him, an ideal way to teach them about their important role in protecting the area’s increasingly fragile ecosystem—just one of the many small actions he has undertaken to help his community reckon with the effects of climate change, pollution, and drought.
Formally, Musa is the waterkeeper for Iraqi Kurdistan as part of a group known as the Waterkeeper Alliance, a worldwide grassroots network of environmental activists that has its origins in a group created in 1966 by fishers in New York to clean up the Hudson River. He also runs a local initiative called Experience Wilderness, which helps people connect with the natural world, and is active in the local art scene.
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