Tuesday, March 23, 2010

World Water Day

It looks as though I will attend a conference in June on the theme of water. The leaders will include religious leaders who will ponder water as a spiritual theme and a justice issue, along with people with a scientific focus on the diminishing availability of fresh water. I am excited about the people who lead, including Larry Rasmussen, and musician Marty Haugen. But the setting will be as important as the leadership team. This is offered at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, an extremely arid place in the high desert, although the incredible rock formations were shaped by water millenia ago. Water is a precious commodity in desert regions and in the United States it is rationed and traded. Most lakes, including the one pictured above near Ghost Ranch are actually human-created reservoirs.

Yesterday was World Water Day and we had reminders about how precious water is around the world.While this appears to be a watery planet, approximately 1.1 billion people do not have access to clean water. Thousands die every year because of the diseases transmitted through dirty drinking water. http://www.worldwaterday.org/

When I walk along the shore of Lake Ontario, I am aware that I wouldn't dip a cup into the water for a drink. Even in this land of lakes and rivers there aren't many places left where the water is pristine.

Do you think we take our abundant somewhat fresh water for granted in Canada? Do you feel there is a spiritual quality to water?


Nancy said...

I totally agree that we take our water for granted! The waste that goes on is unbelieveable!
I do feel there is a spiritual quality to water. I grew up on a river and often found myself in times of conflict sitting on our dock looking at the water. I always found it to be soothing and calming, and I always left refreshed. I miss those times now, for although we live "on the water" it is not as easily accessible (ie. a walk down the back yard) My parents now live on a lake and when I am home, the first place I always go is to the lake. It doesn't matter if it is frozen over with ice or sparkling in the summer sun, I find I always come away renewed. There is something about the calming of the waves, the turmoil that can arise during a storm and the peace one finds at the water's edge.

IanD said...

It's interesting how water is evoked in popular music as a healing force, or a bringer of peace.

Some of my favorite songs from artists like Van Morrison ("And It Stoned Me"), Tracey Chapman ("I'm Waiting"), John Fogarty ("Rise Up") and Bruce Springsteen ("The River" and others) all employ water or water imagery to great effect.

You're onto something, David.

johnny said...

I admire and respect aboriginal culture for many reasons, one of which is the value they place in keeping the water, air and earth pure. In their culture, water is the basis of all life.

Nowhere did I see this more than when I lived on a reserve in northern Sask. Virtually all of the employment available was commercial fishing or trapping. They lived off the land and had a deep respect for what the Creator gave them. Several elders would tell me stories about the importance of water in their culture, and that in the beginning of time, the Creator gave them instructions to keep it clean.

When I see in the news yet another oil spill or increased pollution levels in the water and/or air, it saddens me. I can only imagine what our aboriginal peoples must think.

Nancy said...

Heard on the CBC today about a website that had some amazing water and non-water pictures. I think this is the site, check it out. http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/03/water.html

lionlamb said...

Thanks for these comments. I hadn't thought about the water connection with music Ian. Good examples.

So, Nancy and Johnny. We have all lived along that corridor from the Sault, through Blind River, to Sudbury. All of us came to appreciate the rivers and lakes and the spiritual tradition attached to them. Rev. Cathy here at St. Paul's has that same appreciation after serving in Massey. Is there something about Highway 17?