Paris has the Seine, London has the Thames, and Los Angeles has the concreted 51 mile L.A. River. Rock the Boat is an entertaining look at the history and impact of the L.A. River – made famous in Hollywood movies – and how cities might reimagine and reclaim their once-natural resources to benefit urban areas today.
When a government agency decides that the derided waterway is not worthy of environmental protection, a biologist becomes a whistle blower, a writer trades pen for paddle, and together with others they change the course of history in a local battle with national significance.
For the past hundred years we’ve built our cities and roads, factories, dams and agricultural centers wherever we’ve wanted to, our engineering often triumphing over the natural lay of the land, more balanced design and even common sense. With climate change and an impending worldwide water crisis, we are now forced to examine the impact on nature of our urban lifestyle. Nowhere is this battle better illustrated than in Los Angeles – a dream city turned into nightmare sprawl. And nothing epitomizes man’s efforts to reshape the face of the earth better than the L.A. River: used, abused and forgotten, it is now at the center of a major vision to transform this hermetically-sealed metropolis into a more sustainable model city for the 21st century.
With striking images of the L.A. River, insightful interviews and a soft spot for humor, Rock the Boat documents the intrepid fight to renew the river and the city itself, and affirms the power of committed individuals to jump-start that change.