This Former State Senator Thinks His Documentary Will Save a River

Help make America’s biggest-ever river restoration happen.

Klamath mid-river. Photo by Peggy Atkinson via

We wanted to share the following message from our friend, former Oregon state senator and gubernatorial candidate Jason A. Atkinson, who left politics behind so he could make a movie that would change the world. We think that’s pretty cool.

Dear GOOD readers,

Politics follow culture, which is why, five years ago, I set out to put culture first by telling the story of the Klamath River, one of the largest salmon runs emptying into the Pacific Ocean—and home to the longest-running water war in the West.

I wanted to take politics out: Don’t preach to the already converted, don’t play winner/loser gamesmanship—just tell the raw, honest truth. And along the way, encourage Americans to make an emotional connection to what I know to be a very significant place, home to an incredible group of people.

There are four dams in the Klamath River. They hold no water for agriculture—yet they still manage to heavily pollute the waters of one of the most majestic rivers in the United States. To the tribal nations who live there, the devastation of the Klamath bears the same symbolic weight as the Confederate flag does to African Americans in South Carolina. But in the case of the Klamath, no one really knows the story—it’s never been national news.

Even though you might not have ever heard of the Klamath River, it represents the very fiber of American culture. And our feature-length documentary A River Between Us, a cinematic call to action, is about people doing the right thing, for the right reason, under the incredible pressure of generational hatreds, forging a new path based on the best our country has to offer.

Success would result in the biggest-ever river restoration win in the United States—bigger, even, than the Everglades. But it won’t be easy to make that happen. I spent a career in politics trying to get there. 46 groups—including ranchers, farmers, and even Berkshire Hathaway have agreed to a deal. California and Oregon have already set aside money for dam removal. The only problem? Congress won’t let it happen.

So now, I’m reaching out directly to you. Before our film is released next Tuesday, my goal is to raise the Klamath’s national profile as much as humanly and virtually possible. We’re seeking social awareness and social media support in numbers, across the country. We just need a little more help to make this happen, here and now.

I know that when we succeed at spreading the word about what’s going on there, history will be ours to shape. That’s because this river presents an incredible opportunity to President Obama to leave behind an unparalleled conservation legacy, while healing centuries of large-scale, racially driven conflict.

A River Between Us is the lever; the story is the political cover; the groundwork is done. And when the Klamath conflict is demonstrated to the President to be the legitimate, urgent concern I know it be, I believe that he will act. Together, we will change the course of history. I hope you’ll help me make it happen.

Jason A. Atkinson


In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

Keep Reading Show less

Since the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, whale populations have been steadily recovering. However, whales in the wild still face other dangers. In the summer of 2018, four Russian companies that supply aquariums with marine animals captured almost 100 beluga whales and killer whales (aka orcas). After a public outcry, those whales are swimming free as the last of the captive whales have been released, the first time this many captured whales have been released back into the wild.

In late 2018 and early 2019, a drone captured footage of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales crammed into holding pens in the Srednyaya Bay. The so-called "whale jail" made headlines, and authorities began to investigate their potentially illegal capture.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

An anonymous White House official claims President Trump cruelly limited Hispanic immigrants in their new book, "A Warning."

The book, to be released on November 19, gives an alleged insider account of the Trump White House and paints a picture of the president as a chaotic man who lacks the mental and moral acumen required for the job.

The anonymous staffer says that Trump once feigned a Hispanic accent and made fun of women attempting to immigrate to the U.S.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The 2020 election is a year away, but Donald Trump has some serious ground to cover if he doesn't want it to be a historical blowout.

A Washington Post- ABC News poll released Tuesday shows that Trump loses by double digits to the top Democratic contenders.

Vice President Joe Biden (56%-39%); Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (54%-39%); Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (56%-39%); South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (52%-41%); and Sen. Kamala Harris of California (52%-41%) all have big leads over the president.

Keep Reading Show less
Yad Vashem

Since 1992, the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous has been holding reunion ceremonies between Holocaust survivors and rescuers once a year. But the tradition is coming to an end, as many have died or are too frail to travel. What might be the last reunion of its kind took place when a 92-year-old woman met up with the two surviving family members that she helped hide during the Holocaust, and their descendants.

Sarah Yanai and Yossi Mor introduced Melpomeni Dina (nee Gianopoulou) to their almost 40 family members, all decedents of the Mordechai family, the family of seven that Dina and her two sisters hid during WWII. "There are no words to describe this feeling," Dina told the Jeruselum Post. "It is very emotional for us to be together again."

Keep Reading Show less