The River of Sorrow — Who’s More Sorry – The River or the People?

from Interactive National Geographic Magazine

The Yellow River in China has often been called “China’s Sorrow.”  Please go through some of these resources and then respond to the questions below:

On the home page, click on photo gallery and interactive river map.Explore this map of the Yellow River.  Note where you can drink the water and where you can’t drink the water. Click on the red dots to explore the effect of the Yellow River on these particular locations.  Look at some of the pictures of the river.

from on-line National Geographic

Read this article from the BBC about some times when the Yellow River became another color.

From this NPR article, skim through the article and then play the audio slideshow:

Play this off of the NPR site

Now, respond to the following question:

1.  Imagine you are the Yellow River.   Write a journal entry from the river’s perspective to what is happening to river.  Your entry should be at least ten sentences in length.  Please make sure you are checking your spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and grammar before you post your entry.  Be creative!


22 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by EC13 on October 25, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Though a river has no feelings,I would feel kinda bad.And like feel in disgust.Also who would like to be polluted.It is bad for the creatures who live and depend on it. From Madoi to Loess Plateau is good drinking water , Shizuishan to Nagao is polluted,Shanxi Province to Sanmenxia it’s very polluted.I think if it is polluted and it floods all the sewage and stuff will come with it.And I do not want people wasting me .And as the population grows I get more polluted .So if you do not want your beloved creatures to go extinct please try to save ME!


  2. Posted by EC20 on October 25, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    I am the Yellow River and if I could speak this is what I would want everyone in the world to know. I’m proud the people of China call me their “Mother River”. But I am also sad because they are suppose to take care of me. In some parts of China, if you just drink a little of my water you would be very sick while in other parts of China it is okay for you to enjoy my water. When I turned red I felt like I was being forced to wear something I did not want to. When I dried out I felt ashamed that I couldn’t supply water to the people I care about but also felt angry because they were the reason I dried out in the first place. Sometimes instead of being called China’s “Mother River”, I would be called China’s sorrow when I lose control and flood and sometimes kill a lot of people. This brings me great sorrow. My greatest joy is to be able to take care of the people of China. My greatest hope is they will continue to take care of me.


  3. Posted by EC4 on October 25, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    1. You can drink out of the river in Madoi, Qinghia Province, Lanzhou, and in the Loess Plateu.
    2. You can’t drink the river water in Shizuishan, Inner Mongolia, Liulin, Nagao, Shanxi, and Province Sanmenxia

    I am the Yellow River in China. I am very important to my people. Today they call me Mother River Is Dying. I have many different kinds of pollution as you travel down me. The people of China are trying their best to save me because no place can live without water. I turn red through one kilometer of China. This is because of pollution and red dye. I have lots of pressure put on me because 140 million people depend on me. I got my name from the land around me and some of the polluted parts of me which are brownish. For fun people zip line across me and bungee jump at the tower on one side of me. I do not flood anymore because of the buildings around me. I hope it is not too late to save me.


  4. Posted by ec12 on October 25, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    1 .The people are draining my waters I hate them for that. They are dumping there suwadge into my waters it afull. I just wish the humans would stop. It has been along time since I have felt cleaen water on my back. But some good humans have helped clean me up god bless them.


  5. Posted by ec3 on October 25, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    I am the Mother river and I have a few words for you. I am turning red that is not good how you would feel if I turned you red and you had to go to school looking red. I have a few words on pollution. Why are you polluting me? I see people leaving their garbage on me, trash lying around on every corner of me, I give you water that was once clean now it is dirty. It takes two seconds to pick up a can or a piece of paper, thank you people who pick up trash, it helps a lot when you pick up trash. When you hurt me by throwing trash bags in me, I empty my self into the sea of China, then a sea turtles comes along and eats the plastic bag oh no! my poor son sea turtles dies because he thinks your plastic bag is a jellyfish.


  6. Posted by ec21 on October 26, 2010 at 12:19 am

    I’m feeling sad because everybody keeps polluting me. I feel angry that people have made my waters turn red twice. I’m sad that people of China have made trash mountains along my river banks. Why did people build dams and make me shallow? How long will I stay shallow, and will I dry up? I hope people will know that I am more important than money. I am their life! I wish I were clean like I used to be. Most of my water is drinkable, but alot of my water is not drinkable. I hope in the future I will be deeper, cleaner, and more fun for people to play in.


  7. Posted by E-4 5 on October 26, 2010 at 1:02 am

    If I was the Yellow River I would be petty mad about the polluting buildings. I would be also be confused about how I’m turning red. I would turn sallow to deep sallow to deep. I think that I would be really really ill. I would be really be mad at the people who polluted the most.


  8. Posted by ec19 on October 26, 2010 at 1:19 am

    I am the River of Sorrow. Sadly, I have been polluted. 50% of me is biologically dead. People depend on me for water. More than 50% of me is used for humans. In ancient times, I flooded. That killed millions of people. Once I turned red from a spill, but the spill was non-toxic. It only lasted for about an hour. In the 1990’s I dried up hundreds of miles before I reached the ocean.


  9. Posted by EC18 on October 26, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    I am Mother River. The humans are poluting my waters. Where there used to be clean water, there is dirty trash, dirty things, and dirty stuff. I can just barely remember when the water was sparkling, clean, and a good blue color. I wish that it was like that again. These humans need to revise their ways. They need to see that I am suffering. They need to learn. There are these wonderful people, though. They clean my waters and try to help. The bad people could learn somethings from the good people. I really want to have the sparkling, clean water again.


  10. Posted by ec15 on October 26, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    I am being poisoned. I am being colored red but I shouldn’t be. New buildings and factories are taking over where I live. Factories are throwing their garbage into me. I am not receiving any new water because it hasn’t rained. I am losing my clean water. No one comes to fish anymore because I smell and have foam on me. I am not clean enough to drink. People who drink from me are getting sick. I think the fish are dying too. I wish the factories would stop polluting and start cleaning me.


  11. Posted by EC-8 on October 26, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    I, the Yellow River, am getting really polluted by all the people in China and Inner Mongolia. Some of the areas I am in are making me so polluted that the people can’t even drink the water. In some towns and cities they have to put plastic tubes into a well because I, their main water source, am not safe for drinking. Going down the mountains and near the mountains I am safe for drinking. I am not safe for drinking mostly through the eastern half of me. I wish that the people will try and make me cleaner.


  12. Posted by EC7 on October 26, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    Hi, I am the Yellow river,

    I am sadly being polluted from a part of Shizuishan to Liulin Nagao.
    I am mostly great to drink from everywhere but mostly drink from Madoi to Shizuishan.
    Why am I so yellow?
    Well I pick up a yellow type of soil and it comes to my home and it makes me look yellow. But other then that I am a clear river.
    Since the 1970’s the I have dried up 20 odd times.
    I turn red 1 kilometer through out China. That is because of all the pollution and red-dye. But luckily the people in China are trying their best to save me.
    Did you know that 140,000000 people in China are depending on me for transportation water and food?
    How can I do all of that?
    Please try to help.


  13. Posted by ec1 on October 26, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    I’m the Yellow River.People call me China’s sorrow.Everyday I’m being polluted.Some parts of me are red.At Sanmenxia you can’t drink my water.I stretch for 3,395 miles.I’m polluted by massive discharge of industrial and human
    waste.In ancient times I threatened people by flooding but now people threaten me by pollution. I want to be clean again. When I’m at peace, China is at Peace.


  14. Posted by ec11 on October 27, 2010 at 12:03 am

    I am the Yellow River. The Mother River. But do some of the people who used to cherish and love me remember that? In Shizvishan and Liunin Nagao and Madoi some people use me as a trash can. I am drying up and my glassy water is now nothing but everything I am not suppose to be. I don’t even know what I am! Does anybody even know that I am a part of the world and I won’t be if everyone keeps turning me into something that doesn’t even have a name?
    In some places I am everything but a river and a place for people to wash their clothes and to drink and cook with. I am everything I don’t want to be. Sometimes I feel like nothing at all. Could somebody please save me?
    -The Yellow River


  15. Posted by ec12 on October 27, 2010 at 12:27 am

    part 2. I feel like a huge garbge dump here and there its ever where it makes me itch like crazy. I feel like making it flood its what I do when I’m anrgy it makes me feel beter. Now I need to be a good girl now that they built that dam and now there making another one. You’d think that they would take
    beter care of there mother river. They have 140 million people living on my banks I hope they take good care me of me because I would like to live 1 billon more or more years


  16. Posted by EC2 on October 27, 2010 at 12:28 am

    The people of China call me the river of sorrow and their mother. Sadly over half of me is polluted by the same people that are trying to save me.
    People are taking over my home with chemical factories and pollution. If over 140,0000 people depend on me, who looks after me?
    Why does it have to be me to have a chemical factory blow up beside me? Why can’t it be the Nile or Yangtze in my shoes {or sand}?
    4 billion gallons of waste water get dumped in me every year. So much for trying to save me. That is all, I would be going to cry now but the humans have made dams to stop me from doing that. And to answer the first thing that the blog Room305bresponds says “Who’s more sorry-The river or the people? The river is.


  17. Posted by ec9 on October 27, 2010 at 12:58 am

    Hi I”m the Yellow River and I don”t like humans. I thought humans were once nice. The humans fished from me and drank from me. I flooded and killed them every Spring. There was a balance between us but I was in control. I thought this would continue forever. But as years went by the humans were advancing with technology. They started to dump things into me. In some places of me they acted like I was a dumpster. Sometimes they dumped so much stuff that I turned different colors! As time went on a person said “I wanna build a dam”. In a matter of years I was dammed up for good. In some places I turned dry. As I sat there helplessly I thought “the balance is broken,humans are in control”. I am different colors a lot more often now. So now I wait for a savior but until then I slowly but surly am turning toxic.


  18. Posted by EC6 on October 27, 2010 at 1:13 am

    I am the Yellow River. I am very polluted, thanks to the humans who throw trash in me. I used to be very clear but now I’m dirty, and full of junk AND I’m getting dirtier every day! You might ask why am I so important .Well, about 140,000,000 people depend on me for food, water, and transportation! I turn red about one kilometer throughout China because of pollution and red-dye. One kilometer out of 3,395 miles. What will happen if all 3,395 miles turned red? I hope we’ll never ever know. For one thing, I won’t be the yellow river, that’s for sure. I once threatened people by flooding, but they’ll never forgive me for that. I mean, when will they ever stop polluting me? I guess we won’t know soon, but I hope I’m wrong. After all, when I’m at peace, China is at peace.


  19. Posted by EC5 on October 27, 2010 at 1:29 am

    I think that I would be mad because the people are not taking care of me but the Chinese people are calling their mother. I think if the Chinese people are calling me their their mother I think that they should take care of me more and they turned me red two times. If I was a person polluting when ever I learned that polluting was bad I would stop immediately. I also feel really bad because when I loose control and flood I kill a lot of people.


  20. Posted by ec17 on October 27, 2010 at 1:35 am

    I am the Yellow River of China. I do a lot for the people of China. I supply water, food, and water for the crops that the farmers grow. I also help trading and transportation happen. The people of China depend on me for their living. I use to be a great river but things have changed. I am now polluted in some parts. I use to be able to flow into the ocean but now a dam has blocked my flow to the ocean. All my fish are dying from the pollution in the water. I feel bad not being able to give China what it needs.


  21. Posted by ec14 on October 27, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    1. I am the mother of all rivers in China but I am getting dried up. Some people think it is from the expanding farms, factories and cities. The locals think it is because of the lack of rain. People still depend on me for all their water needs for example bathing, cooking, tending their crops and watering their crops. Companies on my banks are polluting me by throwing untreated chemicals into me and making me turn into lots of different colors. To make it worse, half of me is dead from toxins that cause cancer, birth defects and waterborne disease to the people. People are building dams on me. Raw sewage also gets dumped in me. There may be a hope for me in the future because the government is now setting aside almost 200 billion dollars a year for environmental causes.


  22. Where i begin in the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, i am very clean. I have always been important to the people of China. But as I go towards the sea I get much more polluted. I am polluted because the factories and people are dumping toxins on my body. One city has tons of factories dumping chemicals into me. Besides the pollution, so many people and factories have been taking water out of me that I’m getting thin. One year my body just disappeared. The farmers are losing crops because I don’t have enough water to give. I used to make huge floods, but now the people have built a dam so i don’t do that so often. Actually i make more floods up my body than i used to. I hope the people make the right decisions about me or i will eventually disappear.


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