Honoring Earth Day this year, the environmentally conscious brand Starboard Sup, released this video of team rider Shilpika Guatam who took it upon herself to stand up paddle the length of the Ganges River in India to make a statement about the environment. Her journey, and that of her travel mates, was one of both hardship (heart-ship?) and discovery as they traversed the hallowed waters of the Ganges from source to sound.
Some say its passion. For Shilpika Guatam, its purpose: The story of the Ganges River and paddling it from source to sea.
High in the Himalaya’s, the Ganges is pure. Its sacred waters traverse over 3,000 kilometers and service nearly 500 million people. It is a vital body of water to millions of people and is considered sacred to the people of India.
“A river of life that is quickly dying.” – Shilpika Guatam
The Ganges is Her Purpose
But, as we know, the Ganges River is filthy. Every day over 2.9 billion gallons of waste water, trash, sewage and chemicals are dumped into the Ganges. It is truly dying.
That is why Shilpika Guatam quit her job as an investment banker and, with her team, decided to make a statement about this important waterway by paddling it from source to sea. Her wish: To highlight the need for the people in India to take care of the waters that protect them and sustain them. It took Shilpika and her team 101 days to paddle the full length of the Ganges. They averaged about 50 kilometers per day.
“We paddled with dolphins and herds of cattle. We met thousands of people who worshiped the Ganges as both their mother and their provider.”
Wherever they stopped, they talked to people about the state of the river. They urged the people along its coastline to create less waste, use less stuff and spend more time outside.
India needs a healthy river. Humanity needs a healthy planet.
We, at Standup Journal, stand by those advocates and paddlers who are acting as stewards for our natural environment. As paddlers and surfers, we all spend so much time out there enjoying the benefits of our watery playground. If we share our stories and our love, perhaps we can change humanity’s patterns, one person at a time, to bring waters like the Ganges back to a state of health and ultimately … wealth. I’m a believer.