Leonardo Dicaprio Loves Bosnia’s River Wildlife, Enter 2021 Nature Conservancy Photography Contest Now! Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Goldman Enviromental Prizewinner Maida Bilal!

by | Aug 30, 2021 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Leonardo Dicaprio Defends Bosnia’s river wildlife, plus submit to 2021 Nature Conservancy photography contest, now! Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Goldman Enviromental Prizewinner Maida Bilal.



 Look people, we can’t know everything. And with that excuse I apologize for not knowing about this earlier. We just found out the Nature Conservancy is running a nature photography contest. Here’s their pitch: “Through photography, you can be part of something big: helping save our planet.

Your photos can show the world the beauty of biodiversity, the value of ecosystems and the resilience of people. Join a community of photographers, get judged by the best in the industry and win great prizes. Enter your wildlife, landscape and other nature photos in our contest from August 1 through August 31, 2021.”

So you’ve got one more day to get ‘er done. Think of it this way: if you didn’t know about this yesterday, then as of today you’ve got one more day to submit something special than you had yesterday.

Speaking of nature, The roots of The Nature Conservancy go back to 1915 when leading scientists, committed citizens and dedicated leaders came together with a shared vision to protect and care for nature under the name the Ecological Society of America.

Enough talk. Get crack a’lackin’, you photogs among us. It’s free to enter your photos, and there’s apparently no limit on the number of entries you can submit. Pay attention when filling out your entry form though. All entries are final.

Slide on over to theclimate.org/episodes and click on the links in the transcript for this story to apply. or surf on over to www.nature.org and look search for Photo Contest.

DEEPER DIVE: NatureConservancy



I was chatting with a friend of mine the other day about possible climate organizations she might choose to join, given her vast experience in the space, and the name Chesapeake Climate Action Network came up.  

I searched our The Climate Daily database, and it turns out we’ve yet to report on them. So here goes. The Chesapeake Climate Action Network claims to be the “first grassroots, nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to fighting global warming in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC.” CCAN was founded in July 2002 by Mike Tidwell, a long-time Maryland resident and author. Tidwell’s written three non-fiction environmental books and two memoirs, including one of his time in the Peace Corps. 

Yes, but I digress. The CCAN is currently involved in more than a dozen environmental campaigns in the DMV including “No Fracked—Gas Pipelines on Maryland’s Eastern Shore” and “Sea Level Rise: Virginia’s Greatest Threat.” Nationally, CCAN is also involved in the “hashtagEXXONNKNEW: Making Polluters Pay for Climate Change” campaign.

Some of their most recent victories in the DC/Maryland/VA region include introduction and passage of two stand-alone provisions of the “Climate Solutions Now” Act as pieces of legislation to ensure their chances of passage; the “Zero-Emission Bus Transition” Act (SB 137) and the “Tree Solutions Now” Act (HB 991). And while the “Climate Solutions Now” Act unfortunately failed to pass in 2021 in Maryland, these key provisions passed!

DEEPER DIVE: CCAN, Wikipedia, Mike Tidwell 



Maida Bilal led a group of women from her village in a 503-day blockade of heavy equipment that resulted in the cancellation of permits for two proposed dams on the Kruščica (Crew Sheetza) River in December 2018. The Balkans are home to the last free-flowing rivers in Europe. However, a massive hydropower boom in the region threatens to irreversibly damage thousands of miles of pristine rivers. This is the first Prize for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

When asked why she fought so tenaciously to preserve this and other rivers in her region, Maida said, “Simply put, our rivers are the blue heart of Europe, wild, untamable and incredibly beautiful.” The Kruscica River provides fresh drinking water to over 150K rural citizens. Goldman did a great video, the link to which you can get by going to theclimate.org/episodes and surfing to the bottom of the transcript for this story.  

DEEPER DIVE: GOLDMAN PRIZE, YouTube, Nature of People



Apparently Maida Bilal isn’t the only one who sees Bosnian rivers as the blue heart of Europe. Our man Leonardo DiCaprio does too. Last year, DiCaprio backed the initiative to protect the country’s rivers. He posted this on Instagram:

Let Bosnia and Herzegovina’s wild rivers run free! More than 430 small hydropower plants in the country have either recently been built, are under construction, or are planned—destroying some of Europe’s most intact and biodiverse rivers and the forests around them, and diverting and polluting water. By defending these rivers and the surrounding forests, local communities are defending their families and their homes, in addition to protecting critical nature-based solutions to the climate crisis to the benefit of all life on Earth.”

The river and its streams are home to more than 1,100 wildlife species, many of which are threatened. Additionally, he posted a short video on his Instagram profile about the Vjosa river in Albania, one of Europe’s last wild rivers. Turning the land into a National Park would protect it from any exploitation.

EcoAlbania activist Besjana Guri, in an interview with Euronews said, “According to a recent opinion poll, 94 percent of the Albanian people are in favour of a National Park.” Celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, along with outdoor brand Patagonia, have been supporting Albanian and international nature conservation groups such as EcoAlbania, RiverWatch and EuroNatur launching a new campaign.

As part of the campaign, a short documentary called Vjosa Forever, created by Patagonia, asks concerned citizens everywhere to show their support for a Vjosa wild river National Park and bring international attention to the environmental disaster that could ensue if it remains unprotected.

Albanian political leaders say they intend to stop the dam projects and to establish a National Park instead. But activists fear these are empty words. 

DEEPER DIVE: EuroNews, Balkan Green Energy News, #SaveTheBlueHeartofEurope