“Only a few generations ago most rivers were drinkable, now almost none.” Li An Phoa sees this as a sign of how we live. “Drinkable Rivers are simple indicators for healthy ways of living.” With her TEDx talk on November 7th, she wants to share her mission by engaging locals, companies and everyone to become enthusiastic about a future where rivers are drinkable.

Rewarded by Trouw Sustainable Top 100
Li An lives a nomad's life, teaches at Nyenrode business school, organizes walking classes and has her own nomadic school Spring College where she provides a variety of transformative courses, held primarily outdoors. All this did not go unnoticed. She placed 97th in the Trouw Sustainable Top 100. It’s an important recognition for Li An. “It means that what I do is seen and relevant.”

Learnings from Québec
Raised in Rotterdam, she witnessed how water in rivers like the IJssel and the Maas were not potable. “A drinkable river was unthinkable to me.” A month-long canoe trip in the wild Rupert River in Québec opened her eyes to the opposite. “It never occurred to me that you could drink water directly from rivers, it was an eye-opener.”

Rivers offer opportunities
But why are rivers so important? “Almost everyone has a relationship to a river, whether you live or work close to it. The majority of people in the world live near rivers. Many of the people live in the big cities in a delta, one of the most polluted parts of the rivers. “Rivers are a oppurtunity we overlook.”

Walk the Maas
That’s why she will walk the river Maas, from its spring in France to where it flows into the sea at the Haringvliet in Rotterdam. “I'm going to walk, meet local people along the way, maybe even on the river, and share my mission with them.”

Unreal thing 
But before that, she will walk onto the TEDxVenlo stage. Having to stand still on a stage where no one will talk back to her when she normally walks the talk . “This is an unreal thing for me.” One of the many exciting challenges ahead!

More about Li An's mission ans source to sea rivers walk: www.drinkablerivers.org