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Water connects us!


Dedication: MDGs#7

Ensure Environmental Sustainability

Article and Photos by:

Marianne A. KINZER

Serpent mound, Ohio

As a great lover of nature I have been searching for the quintessential elements of nature, the forming principals of the endless variations of surfaces and forms. As an artist I was fascinated with Mandelbrot’s chaos theory. It seems to describe the laws of the irregularity of nature much better than Euclidian geometry, with its idealized forms.

No other element but water embodies chaos more visually convincing! Most forms are touched and shaped by water, and all living beings are part of the watery universe. Water is the element that connects us with each other, with the animal kingdom, with trees, and all of vegetation.

“Water is life. It's the briny broth of our origins, the pounding circulatory system of the world, a precarious molecular edge on which we survive. It makes up two-thirds of our bodies, just like the map of the world; our vital fluids are saline, like the ocean. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.”
(Barbara Kingsolver)
In antiquity it was well known that water is the essential ingredient for life. Serpent Mound is an earth sculpture, created around 1000 AD, by native Americans. Its folds are aligned with sunrise and sunset of the summer and winter solstices.

I see Serpent Mound as a monument in honor of water. The winding movement of the serpent on the surface of the earth is analogous to the flow of water. Water does flow in meanders. The serpent is also a universal symbol of fertility. Water brings plant growth, and is the essential fluid for survival of animals and humans. Water as the serpent, however, is also dangerous and is associated with death.

When light hits water, creation begins. This is what we read in various creation myths, including the Bible. Science does not oppose this universal truth, but describes it in a more refined way in a specialized language. When the sun of the summer solstice hits a fold of Serpent Mound, past and present come together, and opposites unite. Water may once again bring us life and prosperity.

Prinzengraacht, Amsterdam

It is the nature of water to flow, to travel and to change, yet stay the same. Only a certain amount of freshwater is available to us. Most water on earth is salt water. Only one percent of earth’ freshwater is accessible to us and this amount stays the same. Water quality, though, does not stay the same.

The water cycle purifies water, but not entirely. Chemical and radioactive pollution of our most precious resource may in the end very well lead to our own demise.

We all depend on the same water. Water’s communal spirit calls for a change of perspective! Let water guide us to peace and prosperity! Let’s not insist on our selfish rights and national pride, but share the water, because water flows through all of us just the same: rich or poor, powerful or helpless, Armenian or Turk, Croat or Serb, German or Jew, Jew or Arab, Muslim or Christian. We all need water for our survival.

From the perspective of water, we cannot afford to fight wars, because war pollutes water, and there is no substitute for water. Water asks us to cooperate and use it wisely.

We cannot pollute waterways, but use all technology available to us to treat water before it returns to rivers, lakes and aquifers. It is hard to believe, but quite a few communities even in the United States, a country that prides itself on being the most advanced and powerful country on earth, either don’t have proper waste water facilities at all, or have backward or decaying water and waste-water processing systems.

Instead of spending money on weapons, we should spend the same money to install the best possible water treatment systems and use our technological knowledge to protect water, and thereby the environment, and therefore ouselves.

Fresh water quality could be an indicator of the health of our environment.

Oak Creek, Sedona

Living in a water-rich part of the world, it is hard to imagine that there is a limit to water. In drier parts of the world we understand more easily that water is the blood of the earth, and the water cycle is the circulatory system of the earth.

Without water there is desert. We can make the desert bloom using irrigation. 85% of the available fresh-water is used to grow food.

Most irrigation is not done in the most effective way.

We are heading into a crisis, because the world’s population is growing, and with countries like China and India getting richer, the demand for better nutrition rises as well, while our freshwater resources are dwindling.
Many rivers of the world - like the Colorado River in the US - are already heavily diverted to meet the demands of Western states, most of them with a hot and dry climate.

Lake Pleasant near Phoenix, AZ.

World temperatures are slowly rising. This results in an increase of evaporation on the one side and disastrous floods on the other. We are looking at world’s circulatory system out of balance.

All our efforts should be directed towards minimizing output of carbon dioxide, the gas that is responsible for a warming climate. Technologically we are able to cut carbon dioxide emissions, but we don’t apply or enforce the existing technology decisively enough. Instead we are still citing religious, cultural and national or even racial conflicts as reasons for building huge military arsenals and fight senseless wars. Our real enemy lies elsewhere.

We cannot afford to cut down forests! Forests absorb carbon dioxide, store large amounts of freshwater and have a great influence on our climate!

Explaining environmental problems from the perspective of water might help to make things look less abstract and incomprehensible.

Only world wide cooperation can preserve the world as an inhabitable space for out species. Water connects us all!

- For the full statements of the MDGs Debate on September 20-22, 2010.
- From the MDGs 2010 Summit on Lightmillennium.Org

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