We are all affected by rivers in some way, either by living next to one or through the plumbing systems in our homes. Rivers' impact on human society is immense and always has been. Rivers nourish us both spiritually and physically. They are worshipped and feared, and have inspired artists and scientists alike. Much of human history has been acted out on the banks of rivers. All rivers are dynamic, as is the life they sustain. Our use and abuse of rivers is diverse, ranging from river boat travel to polluting river water with industrial effluent. Rivers reflect both the natural and social history of our planet.