Li An Phoa
Li An Phoa (1980) studied business administration, philosophy and systems ecology. She is the founder of Drinkable Rivers and the nomadic outdoor school Spring College. She also gives walking lectures at Nyenrode Business University and the International School of Philosophy.
Li An is not only a systems thinker, she is, above all, a systems doer. In recent years she has walked more than 18,000 kilometers on five continents, conducting research, teaching and mobilizing people along the way. In 2018 she walked 1,000 kilometers along the Meuse, from its source in France to its mouth in the North Sea. That walk was the start of Mayors for a Drinkable Meuse, an international mayors network for a drinkable Meuse. With her foundation, Li An also set up an ambitious citizen research program that empowers people worldwide to research the health of streams and rivers.
In 2021 Li An and her partner wrote a book about her adventurous life and her pursuit of a world with drinkable rivers: Drinkable rivers: a journey, a dream, a life’s work, published by Atlas Contact publishers. A 3-part TV series was made about her walk along the Maas, which was broadcasted in 2020 on Dutch National Television.
An excerpt from her book:
“Why is our social compass so stubbornly geared to economic growth?
What decisions would we make if we focused on the pursuit of drinkable rivers?
How would we live and work then?”
Li An Phoa in Resurgence: The Source of Life
Li An prefers to take groups outside. There she’ll tell her own story, and adds the personal experiences of those present and the group as a whole. She draws just as easily from Goethe’s work, from the wisdom of indigenous people or from the insights that animals, forests and rivers give us. A walk with Li An is a transformative experience for many.