Watch our short film on the fight to save the Balkans rivers

A new Dazed short tells the story of how culture and nature intertwine, and why Balkan activists want to protect their environment

“In the evening when we get drunk, we take a bath in the river,” says a young boy to the camera in Dazed's latest documentary by Bec EvansRivers run the Balkans. “The first date I had with my girlfriend was by the river.” The film delves into the tributaries that run between culture and the environment, and the human story of rivers, as it profiles the young activists across the Balkans who are fighting to save their endangered nature.

Streaming from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean in the centre of Europe lies what is known as the Blue Heart. The rivers, untouched for many years, face the threat of being destroyed by corporate banks, who plan to convert the streams into over 3,000 hydro dams. There’s a global cost to these plans – the hydro energy produced from the dams is bound to put many existing species into extinction, and further contribute to climate change. But also, if the plans go ahead, local communities will be massively affected.

This documentary explores the intergenerational fight to secure the future of the Balkans region; the people in it – their history, memories and identity as they recall their proximity to water – show just how willing they are to push boundaries in order to save their environment. It also reminds us that this is a region that is used to fighting – perhaps this battle is one that will unite countries against a common enemy, rather than divide them. 

Today is the anniversary of the Brave Women of Kruščica's fight to defend their river against the secret police. A Dazed team – Bec Evans, Sion Philips and Lewis Khan – were lucky enough to spend time with the Kruščica before the screening of the Blue Heart film on the Idbar Dam. Check out their inspirational stories in the film above, learn more through Lewis’s photo story and join the fight to save the Balkans here.