The theme and potential doomsday catastrophe of the second Daniel Craig “James Bond” film, “Quantum of Solace,” had everything to do with water. Particularly, it focused on the challenges, need, and resource (scarcity/potential scarcity) of water. Its kind of scary to think about how the next great conflict or war could well be fought over water rights and usage. But when you take a step back, water is without question foundational to life.
Without water… well, there is no hope for sustainability, growth, prosperity, and really, life. When you get to the heart of the matter, access to clean drinking water and water sustainability and renewability aren’t just social justice hopes, I believe they are life imperatives.
Taking a step back, I think I grew up with a unique perspective. First of all, growing up in Western Washington state, meant growing up between major bodies of salt water and close by to beautiful fresh water lakes, and glacier fed rivers. I mean, we even had a creek in our backyard. Of course, it also rained a fair amount, so growing up I could have easily taken water for granted in its seemingly over abundance. It helped though having a dad who worked (and continues to work) in the public utility (and particularly water resource) world. He views his role in utility and water resource as leadership, stewardship, one of his vocations and even his own sort of ministry in the world. Because of this, it naturally follows that some of that passion and awareness would rub off on his kids.
Through his connections, I grew aware of a number of organizations (both non-faith based and faith based) which did work domestically and internationally around water as a resource. One particular organization, Water for People stands out to me. In fact, I used them as part of my economics capstone research in college. For the project, I did a little research and used them to compare organizational design and effectiveness as a non-faith based Non-governmental organization (NGO) with some faith based NGOs. Ever since making those connections and learning more about Water for People I have held that organization, its mission and service, in a very high regard. For me, they are an NGO which meets and lives out its mission daily and effectively as they provide water solutions and help in many different nations, communities, and contexts throughout the world.**
Now, returning to water more directly, I believe that World Water Day provides us a day to reflect and take a bit of stock on how we use water and how we steward it. Do we overuse what we have? Do we share it effectively? Do we waste it, pure and simple? I know I probably could cut back on how much water I use while showering, brushing my teeth, or washing the dishes. That’s something I am working on in my daily life. But also, what are ways that we can go beyond this?
In the spirit of questions, here are some others that I want to have you ponder. When you contemplate the idea of a “World Water Day” what comes to mind for you? Where does your idea of leadership fit into the conversation here around water? How about ideas related to the neighbor? The church? Other thoughts and questions that come to mind when contemplating the world water supply?
**An interesting side note. In my research, I heard an insight which has stuck with me to this day. I asked about who Water for People partners with when they serve. They said that they try to avoid partnering with faith-based NGOs and non-profits, because so many of them place restrictions on their work or a need to “proselytize” before serving. They provided one exception though. They said that they love to partner with Lutherans. I asked them why, and they said “because they serve without limitations and let their actions and service speak for themselves.” They went on to clarify that its not that they don’t share their faith, they mentioned how when asked why they serve a number of Lutherans had shared some of their faith stories and perspectives. But, they did so after or while serving and only really after being asked, without stipulation or any effect on their service. I think this was a forerunner observation of the idea of accompaniment which I have written about now on the blog elsewhere.
Image Credit: “Water, Drip, Drop, Blue“