The daily need for water by every creature on earth has led to conflicts and crisis over the precious resource world wide.
There have always been fights over water, since the first Australopithecus man in any arid region noted newcomers circling the local watering hole. But it is different today. Today there are seven billion people circling the local watering holes. Some of them have nuclear weapons, some have just machetes, and some feel a short term access to water is more pressing than creating systems that sustain and ensure water for future generations.
According to Water.org, 780 million people have no access to clean water, and almost 3.5 million die each year due to contamination and diseases directly linked to water shortage and sanitation. Solutions are available, but they require a new mindset on the part of planetary citizens.
When people realize that pain and suffering are due to non recognition of the family of man and the extended family of earth, they will acknowledge more deeply what concerns them and how they can act. Green and clean innovations are technical solutions born of the new attitude which says living things matter. People in denial have trouble facing the pain, and do not know about the healing. Global climate change threatens whole continents dependent upon such water sources at the Himalayas, and the Amazon. Only attention to human capacity to affect these huge issues can solve them.
Our alienation and separation from one another can be healed with nature’s help and our acknowledgment of belonging to one another and having shared values. Letting go of the notion of a separate self is a first step. Welcoming science and truth is a second step. Biodiversity, concern for belonging in healthy technological ways is crucial. Still, a third level allows a budding spiritual sense that reconnects meaning to life, all affect our inner and outer mental and physical health as a species.
Joanna Macy often alludes to these three steps which outline a new consciousness not only about crisis such as water and food shortage, but how to attend and heal. The time is come, many agree, to change Ego to Eco, to share and celebrate a healing life.
The carrying capacity of the earth is finite, yet human population growth seems not to be. Until global disaster touches each and every life, this is apparently what will continue. The diseases caused by contaminated water kill many each day, and the most vulnerable to this are children. Needing water is also needing food, because without healthy eco-systems that generate and purify water, there is no way to grow food, except by foreign aid which quickly becomes an exploited dependency which often leads to disaster.
Resource wars, class wars, and revolutions very often are fought by those who just want to make a living, by which they mean, have enough water and food for the family. People will say they risk death for freedom, or honor, or protecting a sacred way of life. What all these conflicts have in common is people want the “freedom and honor” of a simple human dignity. The thirsty are thirsting for justice as much as they thirst for potable water. Like the famine struck starving, they, as much as all of us, want an honest living, to work for food and shelter, and to have adequate means to create it.