Water: Give, Take & the Take Away 


I arose this morning with a story being aired on MPR about the severe drought in California. This drought is prompting aide to farmers as their crops turn to dust. Additionally, various members of Congress are questioning the “man-made” water crisis in California as they challenge the Endangered Species Act, which in one congressman’s words resulted in “billions of gallons of water being dumped into the ocean to save one stupid fish”. 

Is the “man-made” water crisis in California the result of one Act? Would having water reserves made any difference in the management of farms, yards and general water use in California? I honestly am not so sure. Why? Simply, water is not viewed as scarce until it is scarce. In areas where water seems abundant, as it is here in the upper Midwest, we are regularly challenging our water resources in a myriad of ways. Whether intentionally or unknowingly, our view of water as an unlimited, ever present resource, has created an unsustainable system being stretched ever further by our daily actions and inactions; by inadequate resource management; by an increasing world population; and by our need for power in the broadest sense of that word. 

Water has been given to us, and we keep consuming it as if it will always be available. And, please know, that there certainly is room for me to improve upon my own habits of use, so I am not pointing fingers, but simply acknowledging and sharing what I have oberved to be true. We simply have not cultivated a relationship of regard and respect for water, which is our life-blood and key to our own survival. Perhaps this sounds like some new age environmentalist gone mad, but if I have, then why are we so interested in getting to Mars to find water there? From my perspective, I believe we need to be investing more of our resources into our own back yards here on Earth, and I know that the inputs to do so are much less than a trip to Mars! 

The take away this morning for many may have been one of several possible themes. We can manage to help out in this “one” crisis; or, perhaps it that compromised crops will ultimately mean higher prices at the checkout; or, job loss is on the horizon again due to crop loss; or, dumping out good water as part of legislation seems ridiculously irresponsible. Should our focus be with any one of these themes? Really? 

If so, then you should know that the Endangered Species Act referenced in this newscast actually protects Great White Sharks and 34 other species of threatened or endangered fish. I did not uncover any language that spoke to the “dumping of good water” into the ocean, although that is not to say it does not happen on occasion. Perhaps, we should be more concerned about the plastic island the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean, or the use of potable water for fracking activities? Sorry, I digressed. Maybe we should ask, what if this “one fish” holds the key to our water concerns? Is it possible that another living species has the answer to what seems to evade the human species relative to our water concerns?  

And, what about those other talking points? There truly are opportunities being provided by this drought for the mounting resource concerns we hold. Nature’s starvation tactic is setting us up to begin to do things differently, IF, we are willing to choose otherwise. There are numerous possibilities for saving and reusing water, and for minimizing water pollution. Each of these possibilities employed independently make a difference, and taken together, will make for a measurable change. So, what can you do? I am going to reserve those thoughts for my next groundswells rant. In the meantime, ask yourself if you want to move through one crisis after another, whether locally, nationally or worldwide; or, would you prefer to be a change agent? Honor yourself and your water, and be willing to question! 

Groundswells from Roxanne Stuhr 2.14.14

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