SRC Online Kick-off


Talk and Panel Discussion | Changing the Narrative of Europe’s Rivers | Monday August 29th, 6pm – 7.30pm CET | Zoom

The Students for Rivers Camp is on our doorstep. Before gathering in the Ötztal, we kick off the camp with an online discussion on the future of European Rivers.

We invite you to join us!



During the Students for Rivers Camp we look at what role rivers play in our society. We critically discuss new hydropower projects that change the flow of the river for energy consumption. Certain narratives justify these impacts. In order to change the future of rivers, we have to challenge these narratives.

With this online event, we kick start this discussion and we welcome a wider audience to take part or listen in. We have three talks lined up for you, after which we will have space for interaction. You find more information on the speakers at the bottom of this page.

  1. Lena Hommes (lecturer and researcher at Wageningen University) will provide a brief overview of how rivers have been understood and accordingly managed in Western societies in the modern era, and how that has led to severe problems affecting communities and the environment alike. In this context, she will also talk about how the way we see and understand rivers and territories more generally, directly results in specific ways of river governance or the resistance thereto. Moreover, Lena will provide a brief outlook on upcoming alternative trends in river governance (such as dam removal, rights of nature and others) and the hopes, discussions and outcomes they trigger.
  2. Roxanne Diaz (Communications Consultant at a.o. Save the Blue Heart of Europe and the Open Rivers Program) will focus on her past five years in the freshwater community in Europe and on the strides this community has made over the last half-decade. From Europe’s biggest dam removals to declaring Europe’s first-ever Wild River National Park, advocacy and activism for rivers have reached new levels of success. Learn about the growth we have made up until this point proving that change is possible, and take on the challenge to keep the momentum up.
  3. Marianne Götsch (Freshwater Expert and Campaigner at WWF Austria) brings the conservation to the glacial rivers of Austria, and the threat they face from hydropower development. She explains the current situation in Tirol and why it is a challenge to change the narrative in this place, where hydropower is mostly seen as positive development and a green solution to the climate crisis.
Lena Hommes is a lecturer at the Water Resources Management Group at Wageningen University, and a
post-doc researcher at the recently started multi-disciplinary research projects Riverhood (funded by
ERC) and River Commons (funded by Wageningen University). Lena’s main research interests are in political ecology, water governance and conflicts, environmental justice and hydraulic infrastructure in
Europe and Latin America. Just last month, she has defended her PhD thesis entitled Infrastructure Lives,
which analyses how modern hydraulic infrastructure such as dams, hydropower plants and water
transfers transform territories in diverse and unforeseen ways. Lena will continue to study these issues
as post-doc researcher but in addition also focus on understanding upcoming alternative trends in water
governance (such as dam removal, rights of nature and others) and the discussions, conflicts and
outcomes they trigger. Her research feeds into her multiple involvements as lecturer in the
undergraduate and graduate programs ‘International Land and Water Management’ at Wageningen

Roxanne Diaz is a communications consultant focusing on freshwater restoration and conservation in Europe and North America. Through the amazing opportunities brought on by the organisations she works with, she has the great opportunity to play a part in trying to make the Vjosa River in Albania the first Wild River National Park in Europe. She is working alongside outstanding colleagues who are lobbying to change EU legislation to ban future hydropower and forest biomass. She is also the communications manager for the European Open Rivers Programme which offers grants to remove barriers in rivers to restore river health and biodiversity in Europe.

Before becoming a consultant, Roxanne was the communications manager for the World Fish Migration Foundation in the Netherlands where she led the communications work for the AMBER Horizon 2020 project, Dam Removal Europe, and World Fish Migration Day.

Marianne is the voice in the river campaigns of WWF Austria and has brought together a wide range of parties to sign the Kaunertal Declaration. She is one of the organisers of the Students for Rivers Camp.