in! Get your feet wet!
Make a splash!
Together we can make a difference.
matter who we are, where we are, and what we do, we are all dependent
on water. We need it every day, in so many ways. We need it to
stay healthy, we need it for growing food, for transportation,
irrigation and industry. We need it for animals and plants, for
changing colours and seasons. However, despite the importance
of water resources in our lives and well-being, we are increasingly
disrespectful of them. We abuse them. We waste them. We pollute
them, forgetting how essential they are to our very survival.
is a year of opportunity. It is a year for us to focus our
attention on protecting and respecting our water resources,
as individuals, communities, countries, and as a global family
of concerned citizens. It is a time for recognising the impact
of war on the earth’s resources, and on those
members of the human community whose existence will be at risk.
2003 is a year for action and reflection. During this year we
have a chance to mend our ways, to take stock and make a difference.
By protecting our freshwater, we help to ensure our future and
our planet’s long-term prospects.
Water in Australia:
As we listen to the rainforest stream, let us get in touch with
our own experience of fresh water - its importance in our lives,
times when we revelled in it, times when we were conscious that
it is a limited resource. Share your story with the person beside
Global Water Concerns:
Listen to this extract from a letter to the nation by Tim Winton,
popular Australian novelist.
There’s nothing more basic
to human survival than freshwater. Australians know this in their
bones. Water consciousness and water anxiety are the legacy of
coming of age on an arid island. But how conscious are we of the
global picture, the crisis beyond our shores? While we fret for
our lawns and gardens, millions of our fellow humans die for lack
of water or suffer unspeakably from water that’s contaminated.
It’s not just a technical or geographical issue, but also
a moral issue. Let’s translate our anxiety into empathy
and use our success, our wealth, and our experience, to give
our neighbours access to this basic right-pure, safe water.
for the Future is the theme for World Water Day 2003. It
calls on each one of us to maintain and improve the quality and
quantity of fresh water available to future generations. This
is essential if we are to achieve the Millennium Development Goal
- to halve, by 2015, the number of people living without safe
drinking water and basic sanitation. Currently over 1.1 billion
people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.4 billion to adequate
sanitation. The world population is about 6 million.
Matters emerged in response to this global water crisis.
It began in the UK a couple of years ago as a partnership between
Tearfund UK and Water Aid. It has built coalitions in Australia
between NGOs, one of whom is the Social Action Office. TEAR Australia
coordinates the campaign. We will now watch their 3-minute video,
which is promoting a campaign to call on the Australian Government
to respond to these global concerns. Then share your responses
with the person beside you.
should Christians be concerned? The members of religious
orders at the UN prepared a Fact Sheet, which includes a statement
of beliefs, a modified version of which we will say together:
life springs from water. Water is unique. It cannot be substituted
for. Water symbolises what is sacred and spiritual in all religions
and cultures. Access to water is a basic right of all living
Protection of creation is a commitment for which all must feel
responsible. We believe that the earth has its origins in the
divine, and we humans have a duty of care because we are kin
this reason, a radical cultural change is necessary. There
must be a “conversion” based on our recognition
that all parts of the Earth community are interconnected. This,
in turn, leads us away from indiscriminate to responsible use
of Earth’s resources.
Access to water, fit to drink and enough to sustain the life
needs of people, is a basic human right, not a privilege. So,
in speaking of water for the developing world, we speak, not
of charity or generosity by the rich nations, but of human rights
and justice, that are the prerogative of every person who shares
this earth with us.
can we do? Water Matters is making three calls
on the Australian government:
spend $100 million per year on water and sanitation provision.
This amount is the bare minimum that is needed for Australia
to pay its fair share of the global costs of water and sanitation
provision. As of March 2002, Australia gives $33 million in
direct aid in this area, but much more is needed to reach the
2015 target. (Data from ACFOA)
encourage good governance in the provision of water and sanitation
Water and sanitation provision needs to be part of an integrated
process. Ecosystems and water catchments need to be managed
for the interests of all. Those affected must have a real say
in the process of water service provision.
ensure that any participation by the private sector in water
and sanitation provision benefits the poor.
Government is willing to make an effort. Much of its aid is already
providing water and sanitation services in developing countries.
However it does need to increase aid funding and make constructive
contributions to international negotiations on water and sanitation
provision. At Johannesburg, at the World Summit on Sustainable
Development, Australia was one of the last countries to agree
to the sanitation target. The Australian Government represents
us. It is therefore vital that Australia be a constructive member
of the international community in negotiations about water and
can I do?
for my part of the planet by using water responsibly - visit
the website of the Department of Natural Resources and their
Water Wise campaign.
the video/s being prepared by TEAR Australia.
the postcards that are being jointly funded with AusAID.
up to date by visiting these websites:
a Commitment: If you want copies of the postcards sent
to you when they become available, please write your name, address
and the number of cards on the sheets at the door.
Let us now
pray together for our world and the whole of the earth community
- in recognition of the critical times that we are living in,
and for the strength to live now and into a sustainable future:
Ground of all Being, Source of all Life, we recognise you in all
of creation, and we celebrate and give thanks for our lives and
that of the earth and the universe. We hear the call to live as
brothers and sisters with the whole of creation, in a spirit of
respect based on our kinship. We are especially mindful of those
parts of the earth community that will be most affected by the
violence that we are living into. We ask for your strength to
abide by our convictions, and we ask the support of one another
as we face these challenges. So be it!
and Sending Forth: We will experience the solidarity
in the movement of the Midwives Song, as we go forth
into a troubled world.
20 March 2003
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