In 1973, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prepared to open a new dam project, flooding miles of the Stanislaus River Canyon, a beautiful, pristine river valley flowing from the western Sierra Nevada mountains into California's Central Valley. In 1979, Mark Dubois chained himself to a boulder behind the New Melones Dam and threw away the key. "If you guys are going to flood 9 million years of evolution, why not take one more creature with you," he said. Mark's action brought nationwide attention to the threats to our rivers and built a growing movement to protect them, helping to bring a halt to major dam building in the U.S. This is a story of a person who dared to fall in love with life's miracle, this sacred Earth, and reminds us of what it means to ignite our own passion and step into our life's purpose.


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  • franni

    A close friend, also a river guide, took me down the rushing Stanislaus not long before the canyon was flooded. It was early spring, so cold we wore wet suits, blossoms exploding from trees on its banks. This most beautiful and bittersweet memory was almost lost. I am grateful to be reminded of it, the work of Mark Dubois and so many others.

  • nimish

    The world is made more beautiful with presence of people like Mark.I am honoured to have watched this video.

  • Freda Karpf

    the opening question about how one is able to give one's life as you would for a child....that is the connection we are so far from and the place of relationship we have to heal with our land, water and wildlife.

  • Linda Lappin

    One person, so strong, so sure it was right. And I would have thought the army corps of Engineer would have a chain cutter! so good, so strong

  • Angelie

    ......we are connect to something much more ......🌈❤️

  • Cat Wilson

    Beautiful video with an important reminder that we are all connected.

  • Patrick Watters

    Kith and kin — close to home. At about the same time as Mark was loving on the Stanislaus (and thus Creation), I was loving on the headwaters of the Mokolumne in the wilderness of the same name. Mitákuye oyàsin, hozho naasha doo, beannacht. [translation: All are my relatives (Lakota), therefore I will walk in harmony/beauty (Navajo/Diné), blessed to be blessing (Irish Gaelic). }:- a.m. (anonemoose monk)

  • virginia

    We live in a time when the 'arc of change' is WHY we are all here NOW; from rivers to race, inequities and justice; staying present and persistent. That matters.

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  • Mark Dubois's philosophy of activism is that, first, one must fall in love. Discover his heartfelt approach to environmental protection in this interview in Works & Conversations.
  • Learn more about Friends of the River, the voice of California rivers since 1973 and International Rivers, working to amplify the voices of global communities.
  • Think about the last river you dipped your foot into. Or your favorite tree. Or your beloved neighborhood. Decide which corner of your world you love enough to help protect, nurture and serve.

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