Featured image by Michelle McCarron
Editor’s note: This is the latest installment from Will Falk as he follows the Colorado River from headwaters to delta, before heading to court to argue for the Colorado River to be recognized as having inherent rights. More details on the lawsuit are here. The index of dispatches is here.
When I agreed to serve as a “next friend” to the Colorado River in a first-ever federal lawsuit seeking personhood and rights of nature for the river, I agreed to represent the river’s interests in court. On a general level, it’s not difficult to conceptualize the Colorado River’s interests: pollution kills the river’s inhabitants, climate change threatens the snowpack that provides much of the river’s water, and dams prevent the river from flowing to the sea in the Gulf of California.
We seek personhood for the Colorado River, however, and this entails personal relationship with her. Water is one of Life’s first vernaculars and the Colorado River speaks an ancient dialect. Snowpack murmurs in the melting sun. Rare desert rain runs off willow branches to ring across lazy pools. Streams running over dappled stones sing treble while distant falls take the bass.
Personal relationship requires that you learn who the other is. Our first day in court is scheduled for Tuesday, November 14, at 10 AM [you’re invited to attend]. So, I will spend the next few weeks leading up to the court date traveling with the river, sleeping on her banks, and listening. I will ask the Colorado River who she is, and then, if she’ll tell me, I’ll ask her what she needs.
When I arrive at the United States District Court in Denver, I hope to bring the Colorado River’s answer.
(I’ll post notes from the road. And, I’m excited to be meeting up with the brilliant photographer Michelle McCarron soon.)